Some medicine must be given by shot (injection). One type of injection goes into the muscle. This is called an intramuscular (I.M) injection. Giving an injection to your child can be scary. You can practice giving the injection 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
- Sharps container
For the sharps container, you can use 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 not use glass or thin plastic containers, like milk jugs, water bottles or soda bottles. Keep syringes and all supplies out of the reach of children.
Practice Giving an Injection
- Use a 10 mL vial of sterile water to practice. Do not reuse the practice syringe.
- Follow the directions on the next pages to practice getting the syringe ready and giving the injection.
- Repeat this until you feel good about handling the syringe.
Preparing the Medicine and Syringe for Injection
Where to Give the Injection
- Give the injection halfway between the hipbone and knee on the outer part of the thigh (Picture 1). This area is good 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
Infants and Toddlers
- Give your child something to hold, like a toy or a book, or let them squeeze someone's hand.
- Hold your child firmly between your elbow and body. You may need someone to help hold your child.
- 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 them focus on watching TV, or let them squeeze someone's hand.
- Tell them it is okay to cry, and they must keep still (Picture 2).
- Have your child lie on their back and turn their foot inward to relax the thigh muscle.
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 "used needles and syringes" on the side.
- 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 health care provider or nurse.
HH-V-60 ©1981, Revised 2020, Nationwide Children’s Hospital