Immunisations: Easing the “Ouch” Factor

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.