Yikes! I hate shots!!
When your child is afraid of needles, the whole doctor’s office experience can be challenging.
Here is a helpful list of techniques that you as a parent can do to help your child when it comes time for that injection.
- Breastfeeding is the preferred method of feeding infants in the first year of life, and has been shown to have analgesic effects. Breastfeeding is considered a combined analgesic intervention as it allows skin-to-skin contact while holding the child, along with the sweet-tasting milk and act of sucking which help alleviate pain response.
- Oral sweet tasting solutions (with and without non-nutritive sucking) are analgesics for infants up to 12 months. To reduce pain at the time of injection for infants who do not breastfeed, administer a sweet tasting solution before the vaccination. Prepare a sugar solution by mixing 1 packet or cube of sugar with 10mL (2 teaspoons) of water. Place the dose in the infant’s mouth using an oral syringe, medicine cup or pacifier a minute or two before the injection.
Position of child:
- Infants and children should be held by a parent in a position that is comfortable for both of them. One or more limbs must remain exposed for the vaccine provider.
- To reduce pain at the time of injection for children 4 years and older, rub or stroke the skin near the injection site with moderate intensity before the vaccination.
- Parent-led distraction or parent coaching during the vaccination is a way to reduce pain-related distress.
- To reduce pain at the time of injection, consider a topical anesthetic such as Lidocaine. L.M.X.4 and Lidocream4 are available as creams without a prescription. The numbing effect begins in 30 minutes and last 60 minutes. Keep in mind that cream or gel preparations must be covered with a dressing to prevent accidental removal or ingestion. Check with your doctor first and avoid use if the child has allergy to Lidocaine or other local anesthetics.
- To reduce pain at the time of injection for children 3 years of age and older, engage in slow, deep breathing or blowing during vaccination.
- It may help for a skin cooling agent (i.e. vapocoolants, cool/cold packs) to be applied immediately before injection.
More information can be found at http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2010/11/22/cmaj.101720.full.pdf+html . Not all techniques will work for all children, but consider some of them for those infants, anxious youngsters or even older children.
Injectable medications are important and we shouldn’t let a “needle” prevent us from receiving the great health benefits that are available.
This educational information does not take the place of your physician’s advice.