Conquering Needle Fears

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Help your little ones overcome their fear of injections

You can’t avoid it. Every child will go through a phase where they are deathly afraid of needles. Unfortunately, at this young stage in their lives, they have to get injections to protect them against various illnesses. You can’t change the fact that some of these shots will hurt. Nevertheless, as a compassionate parent, you can help to make the overall experience better for your child. Here are a few tips to get them through their next doctor’s appointment.

Don’t Lie

If they don’t ask, great for you. However, if they ask whether they’re going to get shots, tell them the truth. Help them understand, the shot isn’t a form of punishment ,and injections are there to keep them safe. In an interview with Parents Magazine, Margaret Fisher, M.D from Infectious Diseases for the American Academy of Paediatrics, advised that you tell them, “Yes, it will hurt, but just for a few seconds.” Once done, cheer them on for being such great, brave children and reassure them it’s all over.

Prevent The Pain

Talk to your doctor about safe techniques to minimize the physical sensation of being pricked by a needle such as numbing creams. But your physician has to clear them as healthy or appropriate for your tot.

Distract Them

If they aren’t freaking out but you can tell they have some levels of anxiety, simply keep their attention away from the impending shot. It could be as simple as asking them questions, singing songs with them, telling stories, playing games or even watching some cartoons on your tablet. Sometimes, even just offering a small reward can give them something to look forward to once it’s all over. It’s also possible that they will start to view the whole experience in a more positive light.

For babies, mothers are asked to breastfeed before and after the shot. Alternatively, Today’s Parents recommend sugar water which ‘releases natural pain-reducing chemicals in the brain’, just before the shot. All the while, cuddling your baby in an upright position.

Know When To Call It Quits

When your little one has gotten hysterical over the thought of injections, the best thing is to hand over the reins to the doctor or nurse. Sometimes, the theatrics could simply be because they know it’ll illicit a response from you. Perhaps you may even decide not to let the shot happen today. Instead stay at a safe distance where you can still offer support.

Avoid The Shame Game

Most importantly, do not humiliate or shame your child for being scared of getting an injection. Phrases such as ‘Big girls / boys don’t cry’ or getting physically mad at the child makes the experience even harder for the child. Instead, an article by the News Observe advices that parents should, ‘Acknowledge the fear as genuine and help your child work through it.’

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