Vaccines help protect babies and young children against 14 serious diseases. Even though you are keeping your children safe from diseases, it’s hard to see them cry when they get their shots. You can take some steps before, during and after a vaccine visit to ease the pain and stress of getting shots.
Pack a favorite toy, book, blanket or other comfort item. For older children, be honest-shots can pinch or sting, but not for long. Remind them that shots help keep them from getting sick.
Distract your child with a toy, a story, a song, or something interesting in the room. Make eye contact with your child and smile, talk softly or sing. Hold your child tightly on your lap if you can. After the shots, hug, cuddle and praise your child. For babies, swaddling, breastfeeding or a bottle may offer quick relief.
Read about the shots your child will get in advance. Write down any questions you have about the vaccines, so you’ll remember to ask your healthcare provider before the shots. Bring your child’s vaccine record to the appointment, so it can be updated.
Read the Vaccine Information Sheet that you receive from the shot nurse so you know what to expect afterwards.
For instance, some children have a rash, a slight fever or swelling where a shot was given. These reactions are usually mild and resolve on their own without needing treatment.
If you notice redness, soreness or swelling from the shot, place a clean, cool washcloth on the area. If your child runs a fever, try a cool sponge bath. You can also use a non-aspirin pain reliever if your doctor says it’s OK. Some children eat less, sleep more, or act fussy for a day after they get shots. Make sure your child gets plenty to drink.
If you are worried about anything, call your doctor.
Shots can be stressful, but you can ease your children’s discomfort. Keeping up-to-date on vaccines is the best way to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases. Learn more about childhood vaccines at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents or call 1-800-232-4636.
You can also call Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health for more information. The number is 320-208-6670.