5 Ways to Make Your Child’s Vaccination Visit Less Stressful

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In our previous article we spoke about the importance of keeping your baby vaccinated according to schedule. As parents we know that vaccinations are very important, but getting your baby, toddler, preschooler, pre teen to accept the same is very difficult.

An infant or toddler will cry about it. But your preschooler / pre-teen will simply refuse to come with you to get their shots. Vaccinations must be given until your child is 15 years of age. As they become older they will adjust, but until then vaccination day is going to be tough.
Here are a few tips to make it easier for both you and your child:

• Come Prepared
Before your child’s appointment, read up on the scheduled vaccines and write down any questions or concerns you may have. If you’re taking your child to a new doctor’s office, make sure to bring his immunization records with you.

• Tell the truth
If you have a toddler or preschooler, be honest with him/ her. Explain what a shot is and what she can expect when she’s at the doctor’s office. Tell her there will be a quick pinch or two and that the pain she/he feels will be over in a second. Tap her on the arm to show just how quick a second is.

• Ask Questions
At the doctor’s office, ask questions like: what symptoms can I expect my child to experience in the hours and days after the vaccination, what are the signs of a serious reaction? What pain meds, if any can you give to help relieve any discomfort? These answers will help you make the necessary arrangements for your child.

• Hold Your Infant or Toddler Properly
There are different holding positions for children according to their age. In general, a not-too-tight embrace is the way to go. Too loose and your baby may slip away from the needle, too tight may only add to his/her anxiety. For an infant or toddler who is getting vaccinated in the leg, hold the child directly on your lap with his side against you. Place your arm that’s closest to his back around him and hold his outer arm. Apply gentle pressure for a gentle hug. Use your free arm to hold your child’s other arm gently but securely.

• Comfort Post-Shot
The best way to soothe a just-vaccinated child is with a soft, calm voice. Support and empathy go a long way here. Tell him/her you know that it was scary and you’re proud of him/her for getting through it. Hold or cuddle your toddler or older child, and breast- or bottle-feed your infant if he/she is willing.