Surviving Shots

Health care providers, especially pediatric providers, understand the anxiety patients can feel when it comes to shots. While they do a great job of helping patients relax before, during and after shots, here are some helpful tips to make the process easier for your child.

  • Prepare ahead of time. Be honest with your child about what shot(s) he or she will be receiving, and explain that shots are given to help prevent sickness.
  • Never use shots as a punishment or threat.
  • Soothe your infant or younger child by placing him or her on your lap and rocking them afterward to lessen crying.
  • Distract your child before, during and after each shot. Play music, a movie or a game or tell stories or read a book.
  • If your child is old enough, teach him or her how to take slow, deep breaths to help alleviate anxiety.
  • Tell your child to relax their arm as much as possible, as tensing up can make a shot hurt more.
  • Encourage your child to focus on something in the room, such as a picture or poster, until the shot is over. Have him or her concentrate on the details in the picture or poster, whether it’s counting the number of objects in the picture or intently reading words on a poster.
  • Tell your child to speak up if they are feeling dizzy or sick after a shot. If so, your child should rest, either sitting or laying down, for 15 minutes.
  • A mild fever or other minor symptoms could develop after a shot. Ask your doctor if it is OK to give your child acetaminophen if this occurs.