Needles are never pleasant but there are a few steps that might ease the ‘ouch’ factor:
* For babies, cuddle them closely. Feeding before or afterwards can offer quick comfort.
* For toddler and older children, give them notice of what will be happening. A surprise shot could lead to fear or mistrust around doctor’s visits.
* Explain that they will be getting an injection to keep them healthy. It helps to also explain that the shot takes a second but getting sick would go on much longer.
* Practice timing a second so they understand how quickly it passes.
* If you have a fear of needles, hide it – try not to let your stress transfer.
* Hugs – regardless of your child’s age – are always the best source of reassurance.
* Ask the doctor to allow your child which arm or thigh is done first, which gives them a little control over what is happening.
* Pile on the praise afterwards and maybe consider a small treat; both will distract from the sting and might result in less fear or anxiety when the next round of immunisations come around.