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Helping Children During Immunizations

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

The following strategies may help decrease your child's discomfort related to immunizations.

Infant (newborn to 12 months)

Your baby is less likely to be uncomfortable or upset after an immunization if he or she is not hungry or tired.

During and after the immunization, you can help your baby by providing gentle comfort and reassurance.

Toddlers (12 months to 3 years) and young children (3 to 9 years)

Tell toddlers and young children beforehand about the upcoming visit to the doctor. But wait to talk about getting immunizations until right before it happens. Tell your child that he or she will feel a little prick that may sting. Avoid words like "shot" or "hurt." These can have strong meanings to young children, which can raise their fear of immunizations. Never suggest that vaccines are being given as punishment for misbehavior.

You can help ease the tension your child feels while getting a shot (injection) by using distraction techniques. For example, blow bubbles, read books, or talk about fun activities to help relax your child.

During the shot, act calm and confident. Don't increase your child's anxiety by being critical, apologetic, or overly reassuring.

Place a bandage over the area where the shot was given. Some toddlers and young children are afraid of blood or worry that medicine will leak out of the injection site.

Older children and teens (10 through 18 years)

When your school-age child or teen needs immunizations, talk about his or her expectations so you can address any misconceptions.

To help reduce the discomfort of injections:


Credits for Helping Children During Immunizations

Current as of: August 31, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine


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