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Making Injections Easier for Children

Updated on March 6, 2015

We all want the very best for children, even if that comes with a little pain and discomfort. There is no question about it - injections, whether vaccines or antibiotics, are absolutely vital to your child's health. However, most children are scared by the idea of getting pierced by a needle, even if they know how good it is for their body.

So here are some useful tips on how to make your trip to the doctor more smoother.


Answer Carefully!

You might not realize it, but how you respond to your child's curious questions can be very meaningful to them. It is important that you give the most informative and well-worded answer you possibly can. Especially if this is your child's first time, how you phrase your answer can have a surprising impact on your child's attitude towards the injections.

Here are a few common questions and how you should answer them.

Q. What is an injection?
A. An injection is when the doctor will put medicine into your body, using a syringe.

Q. Why do I need one?
A. So you won't get sick in the future. It's very good for you.

Q. Will it hurt?
A. You might feel a little pinch, like a mosquito bite.

Avoid using complicated words like "vaccination" or "immune system". This will likely make your child even more confused and worried. Try not to use distressing words like "needle" or "pierce". Do not lie to them, as your child will lose trust in you once they find out the truth.

Numb the Nerves!

Nothing makes more sense other than directly minimizing the pain by applying easy-to-find medicine. My personal favorite is the EMLA cream. This anesthetic works by stopping the nerves from sending impulses to the brain. Before your run off to the pharmacy, make sure that your child is not allergic to any of the ingredients.

Another widely-available medicine that is proved to be equally effective, is the cool spray. It is a spray that immediately cools down the skin upon contact. This quickly numbs the skin, which may very well reduce the pain.

Although you can likely find these at your local pharmacy, if you can't access neither options, there are some easy numbing processes you can perform, such as cooling the skin with ice or massaging the skin with baby body lotion.

Most children do not remember getting injected when they were a baby.
Most children do not remember getting injected when they were a baby. | Source

Pick the Right Spot!

Different children have different preferences, but most injections are much less painful on the bottom. Ultimately, you should give your child the freedom to decide, but it is worth telling your child that not all body parts will experience equal pain. As the backside muscle (gluteus maximus) is the largest muscle, it is often the least painful muscle to inject into.

However, many people also prefer the thigh, as a good spot to inject. The next contender is the deltoid (shoulder muscle). Trying and experimenting with a variety of spots will give your child an idea of his preference. Just as a guideline, here is a table showing the most popular injection place.


Which Area Does Your Child Like?

See results

Distract Your Child!

Your child might experience more pain if he is directly looking at the needle, or if he is thinking about getting pierced. It is advised that you should use basic distraction methods so your child does not focus all his undivided attention on the actual injection.

For example, you can ask the nurse or doctor to count to five. You could show him his favorite toy or cartoon, so that he is less stressful during the injection. Buy your child a small sweet and tell him that you're going to give it to him after the injection. That way, your child will think about chowing down on some candy.

A sweet distraction!
A sweet distraction! | Source

The actual injection itself does not inflict much pain at all - the pain experienced is usually enhanced by the fear of the needle. Instinctively, no children will be comfortable around sharp objects like syringes, but using such distractions may make the injection much better. If he is thinking about movies, food and toys, or he is counting, the injection will feel shorter and less painful.


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