With back to school and flu immunizations on the horizon, many children may experience anxiety or discomfort around vaccinations.
Children’s Mercy Kansas City works to comfort children before needle procedures like routine vaccines or blood work, and they’re sharing ways parents can help prepare kids.
- TELL KIDS AHEAD OF TIME. Parents often ask if they should tell their child they’ll get a vaccine before the appointment — yes! As a parent, you know your child best. Lean on past experiences to decide how far in advance to tell your child they will be getting a vaccine.
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORDS. Words can have different meanings. Children can hear a word and be confused or not understand the way it was meant. Try to say poke instead of shot, as it helps to clearly share what they may feel.
- LET KIDS TAKE PART. Children as young as one can participate in their health care practices. When a child chooses parts of their procedure, like which arm to receive the vaccine, a numbing technique or a comfort position, it provides a sense of control and helps them cope with future health care events.
|AGE||WAYS TO NUMB||COMFORTING POSITION||USE A DISTRACTION|
|0 to 12 Months||Try a cold spray or a ShotBlocker® to help distract pain signals to the brain. Breastfeeding or sugar water on a pacifier also helps children feel less pain.||Swaddle or hold your child during the poke to help them feel close to you.||Books, music, toys with noise, singing, cooing and making eye contact.|
|1-5 Years Old||Try a cold spray or a ShotBlocker® to help distract pain signals to the brain.||Having your child sit upright will let the child feel a sense or control. Or hold your child in your lap and keep them still||Pop up books, music, light up toys. Help them take deep breaths, pretend to smell flowers or blow out birthday candles.|
|6-18 Years Old||Try a cold spray or a ShotBlocker® to help distract pain signals to the brain.||Having your child sit upright will let the child feel a sense of control. Hold or be next to your child, or if they are older, ask them what position feels best.||Phones, music, video games, or talking to your child about an upcoming special event may help.|
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