We all know that getting shots can be tough, on you and your child, but the benefits of vaccines are worth the efforts. Shots provide babies and young children with safe, proven protection against serious diseases. This can be hard to explain to little ones and make the whole experience that much worse. What we can do is take steps to remove some of the stress that comes with vaccine visits and hopefully make the whole experience less painful.
To help babies under 6 months old with shots, try a method called the 5 S’s immediately after a vaccine. These are swaddling immediately after a shot, placing them on their side or stomach, making shushing sounds in their ear, swinging the baby in your arms, and giving them an opportunity to suck – whether through breastfeeding, a bottle, or a pacifier. Research has shown that doing at least 4 of the 5 S’s greatly reduces the amount of time an infant cries after getting a shot.
Be honest with an older child, let them know that shots can pinch or sting, but the discomfort won’t last long. Remind them that shots keep them healthy. Bring a comfort item, such as a favorite book, stuffed animal, or blanket to help your child feel safe. Distract your child with a song, a game, or something interesting around the room. Hold your child tightly on your lap and take deep breaths with your child to help “blow out” the pain. After the shots, cuddle, hug, and praise your little one. Comfort and reassure them if they cry.
After the Shots
You might notice some redness, soreness, or swelling from the shot, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. These reactions are usually mild and will go away on their own. To ease swelling, use a clean, cool washcloth on the area. If your child runs a fever, try a cool sponge bath or use a non-aspirin pain reliever if your doctor says it’s okay. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest after vaccines and give them lots of liquid. If you’re worried about anything, call your pediatrician.
Mom and Dad Tips
Stay Calm! You might think your child is too young to know that you are feeling anxious, but even a small infant can pick up on your feelings so provide your child with lots of support but keep as calm and positive as you can. If you are feeling anxious, or your child is very nervous, talk to your doctor so they can help reassure your child as well. Parents play an important role when children receive vaccines – they can soothe and comfort, make them feel safe and secure – this helps alleviate stress, keeps your little ones calm, and makes the whole experience go by quickly.
Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care and Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care
AllKids Urgent Care is Arizona’s best kids-only urgent care and we believe that all kids deserve the best! We are here for you, your children and your family when you need us – both our Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care and our Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care are open every day, from noon to 10 pm. No appointment is necessary, just stop in and start your child on the road back to health.