When Your Child is Afraid of Needles

by Ann Douglas

Child Afraid of ShotsIs your kid deathly afraid of needles and due to get a booster shot soon? Here are a few suggestions that may help with this common and stressful situation.

1. Talk about the upcoming injection in a matter-of-fact way that lets your kid know that you have confidence in her ability to cope with the immunization.

2. Don't minimize his or her fear of needles. The fear is very real to your tot. Instead, focus on helping him or her to get through the experience.

3. Help your toddler to visualize him or herself getting through the immunization For example, your child imagines rolling up his sleeve and turning his head away so he doesn't have to watch. The immunization occurs. It stings for a few seconds, and it's over -- at least until next time.

4. Don't surprise your child with an unexpected immunization when you arrive at the doctor's office. You may sidestep the tears leading up to the needle, but you risk having her switch into panic mode every time she has to go to the doctor's office from now on.

Instead, let your daughter know that she's due for a shot when you schedule her appointment -- or, at the very latest, on the morning of the day when she's scheduled to have her shot. She needs time to get psyched (or as psyched as possible).

5. When you book the appointment, ask what the doctor recommends to make immunizations as pain-free as possible. The doctor might recommend topical anesthetic creams that are applied to the skin just prior to immunization or the old-fashioned ice-cube remedy (applying an ice cube or freezer pack to the immunization site), which can help to achieve the same result.

What sort of tips and tricks do you have in your bag? Let us know what they are!

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site, having-a-baby.com.

Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org.