Is Your Child Afraid of Getting a Shot?

Many children have a fear of needles, a condition that sometimes runs in families. A child’s fear can often be more upsetting than the actual shot.

To ease your child’s anxiety, try the following tips:

  • Explain matter-of-factly what is about to happen. Tell your child that the shot will hurt a little bit only for a moment.

  • Distract your child with age-appropriate toys. For example, bring along a rattle for a baby, a bubble blower or party blower for a young child, or a video game for an older child. It might help to bring along a toy or book your child has never seen before.

  • Help your child relax. Hold her on your lap. Encourage her to imagine a beautiful picture or scene. Or offer a soothing shoulder massage.

  • If your health care provider agrees, let older kids choose the site of the injection. This helps give them a sense of control over the process.

  • Ask your child’s doctor about applying a numbing cream to the skin before the shot.

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