Vaccinating your children is one of the most important things you can do to protect their health. In fact, immunization can be credited with saving approximately 9 million lives a year worldwide, according to UNICEF. While there’s no way to make the process completely pain-free, there are some steps you can take to make the process a little easier.
- Prepare your child ahead of time to help calm their nerves. If you have an infant, try breastfeeding or skin-to-skin contact.
- If your child is older, explain to them that shots might hurt at first but only for a short time. Explain that shots are important to keep them strong and healthy.
- Consider offering a reward incentive, like stickers, small toys or frozen yogurt.
- Prepare yourself by reading about the vaccinations before the visit. Bring a list of any questions you might have.
- Make sure to request a record of your child’s immunizations and have your physician fill out any forms your child’s school may need record of.
- Offer a favorite book, blanket, toy or snack to distract your child.
- Try to make eye contact while talking, singing or cuddling.
- Point out different objects in the room and ask questions to engage them.
- Consult the physician or nurse on pain relief, such as Tylenol, massaging the injection site or warm baths.
- Ask about your child’s next round of shots to stay current with their next visit.
- Request information on the vaccines your child received and any side effects they might experience.
- Pay extra attention to your child for a few days. If you see something that concerns you, call the pediatrician.
For a list of recommended immunizations for children, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.