Young children need flu shots more than most people because they are vulnerable to serious strains. However, most children are afraid of needles; some are downright phobic. If this describes your child, there are ways to get the needed vaccine without tears and tantrums.
Do not tell your child he won’t get a shot when he will. Don’t say it won’t hurt – it probably will for a moment and may be especially painful for a little one with sensitive skin. Instead, say, “The doctor needs to give you a shot so you won’t get sick. It will hurt, but only for a minute.” Reassure your child it’s okay to cry. Offer your lap to sit on or a hand to squeeze.
Don’t Use the Doctor as a Threat
Many parents threaten their kids with shots to ensure good behavior during doctor visits. Even if a vaccine isn’t scheduled, this strikes fear in the hearts of little patients and drives doctors crazy. Don’t do it. Rely on praise such as, “I know this is scary. I’m proud of you for being so brave.”
Ask for Ointment
Many doctors use topical numbing cream on kids and adults. Ask your doctor to use it for your child.
Don’t Hold Your Child Down
This is tempting, especially if your child is prone to squirming or tantrums. However, resist the urge to hold him or her down. Kids who are held down experience more stress and learn to associate the doctor with fear and loss of control. Additionally, shots should never be given while a child is flat on the examining table; he or she should sit up.