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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:

  • 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.

Sweet-tasting solutions:

  • 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.

Tactile Stimulation:

  • 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 instructions:

  • Parent-led distraction or parent coaching during the vaccination is a way to reduce pain-related distress.

Topical Anesthetics:

  • 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.

Breathing Techniques:

  • 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.

Skin cooling:

  • 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.

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