Injections IM

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Some medicine must be given by injection (“a shot”). One type of injection is called an I.M. (into the muscle) injection. Giving an injection to your child can be frightening for you and your child. You can practice giving the “shot” to an orange before giving the first injection to your child.


To Give the Injection You Will Need:

  • Bottle of medicine
  • Disposable 1 mL or 3 mL syringe
  • Needle, size
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Band-Aid®
  • Sharps Container or a hard plastic container with a screw-on cap for used needles and syringes. An empty bleach bottle or liquid laundry soap bottle works well.DO NOTuse glass or thin plastic containers like milk jugs, water bottles or soda bottles.

Be sure to keep syringes and all supplies out of the reach of children.

Practice giving an Injection:

  • For practice, use a 10 mL vial of sterile water, not the actual medicine.
  • Follow the instructions below to prepare the syringe.
  • After the syringe is prepared, practice giving the shot by injecting an orange with the water.
  • Repeat this until you feel comfortable handling the syringe.
  • Throw away the needle and syringe in the hard plastic container

Preparing the Medicine and Syringe for Injection:

how to prepare the syringe for use

how to use the syringe

Where to give the injection:

the front thighs to give injections

  • Halfway between the hipbone and knee on the outer part of the thigh.
  • This area is chosen because it does not have large blood vessels and nerves.
  • This site can be used for a child of any age.
  • Do not give the injection in the same spot every time. Write down the site you used and give the injection in a different spot the next time.

Preparing your child for the injection:

child laying down while receiving injection

Infants and Toddlers

  • Give your child something to hold such as a toy or a book or let him squeeze someone's hand.
  • Hold him firmly between your elbow and body. You may need someone to help hold your child.

Older Children

  • Explain what you are going to do and why.
  • Be honest with your child, the shot will hurt for a short time.
  • Give your child something to hold, such as a toy or a book, have him focus on watching TV, or let him squeeze someone's hand.
  • Tell him it is okay to cry and he must keep still.
  • Have your child lie on his side or his back and turn his foot inward to relax the thigh muscle.

How to Give the Injection

instructions on how to give the injection

Caution: If you accidentally poke your skin with the needle after the medicine has been given, wash your wound and call your doctor.

Used Needles and Syringes:

  • Do not re-use needles or syringes.
  • Keep the sharps container upright and out of the reach of children.
  • Do not put needles in a container that will be recycled or returned to a store.
  • When the container is almost full, use a new container.
  • If you are using a hard plastic container, write on the side of it, "used needles and syringes".
  • Ask your local trash or public health department if there are any special handling rules about throwing away the used needles and syringes container

If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse, or call .

Injections - IM (PDF)

HH-V-60 12/81 Revised 8/16 Copyright 1981 Nationwide Children’s Hospital