Like most things in life good preparation ensures good experiences and this is the same for immunisations.
1. What to wear
Having the right clothes on can make or break a smooth successful immunisation. Vaccines are administered in thighs or upper arms and which limbs used depends on the age of your child. Currently 2, 4, & 6 month olds get a vaccine in each thigh, 12 & 18 month olds get one in a thigh and one in each arm and 4 year olds get one in the arm. Therefore ensure your child wears clothes that provides instant access to these areas without any preparation. We highly recommend 4 year olds wear a vest so there are actually no clothes to remove at all during the consult. This makes a massive difference as it is far too often that the clothes removal is the biggest issue! If that arm is free and ready to go you are onto a winner already.
For older children have a distraction ready. For example, it may be the treat you have promised them, or their favorite show on your phone. Something you know your child loves or gets excited by. Have this easily at hand and quickly accessible so you can get it out and working quickly.
Have a bribe ready. Many feel guilty about this but it’s how we all get through tough times and congratulate ourselves, even as adults. We have all told ourselves “if I get through this tough situation, I will treat myself with that pair of shoes, or glass of wine”. It’s normal. As humans we all respond to this. Think of something your child has wanted for a while, it could even be a lolly they are not normally allowed, or a toy they have been asking for it doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Something you can give instantly is usually the best option e.g.: a lolly. Focus on this bribe, not the vaccination. Talk about how exciting it is going to be that when they see the Doctor they are going to get this exciting treat.
4. Talk positively
Kids learn fear, anxiety and worry from us. So really talk up the vaccine in a positive way. Express how exciting it is today that they are going to get a vaccination. That you only get that when you are big. Depending on the child you may explain they will get a vaccine today and it may hurt a little, but tell them it’s good as it means they will not get sick. All big children get one and all children are really brave just like they are. But again end saying how exciting it is that they are going to see doctor x – say the Doctor name, and then mention they will then get a treat. What a fun day and then they can tell everyone.
5. Stay calm, quick and strong
A calm environment is essential. Studies have shown if your cortisol rises when you are stressed so will the child’s. They feel and respond to external stress created by us. Let the child be free when you first arrive and talk to the Doctor or nurse. Only when it is time to do the vaccination pick them up, ignore what they are saying, talk positively again and get them in the right position quickly and just vaccinate. Be strong and firm and just do it straight away in a calm controlled manner. The longer it takes to do the do the vaccination the more stressful the situation becomes. So aim to stay calm and positive and get the vaccine done quickly.
6. Little tricks
Practices each have little tricks to try and make vaccinations better. We love the shot stopper, a device that really minimizes vaccination discomfort by tricking the brain. We may also do two vaccinations at once to get them over with quicker. You can also use ice beforehand or after, or apply a numbing cream from the pharmacy for 30 minutes before the vaccination, however often the solution can still sting even if this is applied.
We hope you are now feeling prepared and ready for your child’s next vaccination. If you have questions, always ask your practice before the day comes, so you can be informed of the process and ensure the day is a positive experience
In a nutshell
- Wear clothes that instantly expose the injection sites
- Talk positively
- Remain calm
- Get your distraction ready to go
- Have your bribe at hand
- When ready to go, cuddle your child firmly under the injector’s direction instantly
- Concentration on a firm cuddle whilst you use the distraction and talk positively
- Give the bribe instantly and congratulate them
If you have any further questions, please Contact Us