Preparing your Children for Shots- 6 Tips to Ease the Pain

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Trauma-Free vitamin B12 Shots for Kids: Whether your child needs vitamin B12 shots or a flu vaccine, shots can be scary and painful.  Try these tips for taking some of the “ouch” out of getting shots.

Vaccines, B12 shots, and IV’s- oh, my!

Visits to the pediatrician can be tense, for both mom and child.  The threat of yearly immunizations looms over their heads, child wondering if this would be the “year of the needle,” and mom worrying about how to get through the doctor’s appointment with as little tears as possible.

Besides getting the annual vaccine shots, other needle-centric events or conditions in your child’s life might be:

  • Vitamin B12 shots for Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Shots for symptoms of autism
  • Diabetes (insulin) shots
  • Flu shots
  • Intravenous therapy (IV)
  • Blood testing
  • Autoimmune disorder treatment

How to make shots less painful

Let’s face it- your child will never enjoy getting shots.  Most adults still sweat at the thought of receiving a sharp needle in the arm. 

Still, you have some basic tools at your disposal will make the whole stressful episode run much more smoothly, and hopefully, alleviate some of the pre-doctor anxiety the next time around.

Here are some tips for soothing your child during shots, IV’s, and blood tests


Tip #1: Look!  Up in the Sky…

For taking some of the pressure off the moment at hand, the first trick up your sleeve should be distraction, distraction, distraction.  Use whatever tools you think will work; consider this your moment to shine and practice resourcefulness.  Sing, dance, mime with a sock puppet, or whip out some favorite storybooks. 

When it comes to helping your child through a round of injections, there can be no diversion too sneaky…or cheesy.

Tip #2: Pacify

Before leaving the house, make sure you pack your bag with some of your baby’s favorite toys, a pacifier (assuming he takes one), and a lovey, like a soft blanket or doll. 

Another trick that’s worth trying at least once a year: soothe them with sweets, either by dipping her binky in a bit of sugar, or allowing her to take from the lollipop jar.

Tip #3:  Put on your best poker face

What, me worry?  That’s the attitude you want to convey to your child before and after the procedure.  Kids are very good at picking up even the smallest hint of tension on your part, so act cool, paste on a smile, and prepare for whatever comes next.

Tip #4: Ahem, ahem.

Believe it or not, there’s some research indicating that coughing before and during vaccinations is an effective way to reduce the pain. 

In 2010, the journal Pediatrics published a report that focused on children between the ages of four to twelve, finding that faking a cough before getting a shot, and then, again, during the round of shots, resulted in less trauma.  Alternatively, your child could pretend to blow a feather across the examining table, or soda bubbles through a straw.

Tip #5: Ease the pain

After the nurse has administered all the shots, and the tears have (almost) dried, you still have a few options for relieving the pain. 

Gently rub the pinprick spot to reduce swelling, and apply a topical anesthetic, such as EMLA cream

A small amount of pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, will also go a long way towards pain management.

Tip #6: Seek alternatives

With medical technology practically bursting at the seams, it’s good to know that there are some new alternatives to painful injections. 

Find out if your child is eligible to receive FluMist, an innovative flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray. 

For childhood diabetes, an experimental needle-free insulin injector might be a good option.


Related reading:

Avoiding Vitamin B12 Deficiency while Breast Feeding

Worried about Low B12 Lab Results?

B12: Celebs Say it’s the New C


Ouch! How to Make Shots Less Painful for Kids

10 ways to make shots less painful for children

8 Ways to Make Shots Easier for Kids


Tom & Katrien, VividImageInc