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Solution: Flu Shots

by Editorial Team | November 1st, 2013 | Parenting Predicament

bandaidI have a one-year-old and an eight-year-old who both need to get flu shots.  I’d like to know how to make it easier. The older one always gets nervous, no matter what I do to try to help him feel better, and the baby may pick that up from him.

You’re doing the right thing by trying to help your children feel better. However, a parent with an older child in this situation has to be both upbeat and honest about the fact that shots do hurt, and it can be a fine line. With a child who’s too young to understand, there’s a whole other set of diffculties.

The Center for Disease Control has Tips for a Less Stressful Shot Visit here. Kids of all ages can benefit from being distracted during the shot, according to the CDC. Your older child might want to try “blowing out” the pain with deep breaths — be sure to do it along with him. The one-year-old might be comforted by holding a toy or familiar blanket.

The CDC also says “Engage other family members, especially older siblings, to support your child.” Although this advice is for older children, your eight-year-old might find a role helping with the toddler.

It’s recommended that a parent hold the child in a comforting way during the shot. If your doctor or nurse is okay with these CDC suggestions, try them:

For infants and toddlers who are getting a vaccine in a leg, parents can:

  1. Hold the child on their lap.
  2. Place the child’s arms under one of their own arms and around their back and apply gentle pressure for a secure, hug-like hold.
  3. Use their free arm and hand to hold the child’s other arm gently but securely.
  4. Anchor the child’s feet firmly between their thighs.

For older children who are getting a vaccine in an arm, parents can:

  1. Hold their child on their lap, or have the child stand in front of the seated parent.
  2. Embrace their child during the process.
  3. Anchor both of the child’s legs between their thighs.

Good luck!

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