Vaccine phobia is a common occurrence. A study says that 63% of children aged between 6-17 years had a fear of needles. This can lead to extreme anxiety and withdrawal symptoms. You might have to face cancelled or delayed vaccine appointments. Children do not understand that immunization protects their health and well-being. So, it is crucial to make them aware to reduce their terror of needle pokes. It will help in making each session successful. The child is also less likely to experience trauma. Else, they may grow up into scared adults who will avoid healthcare altogether for the rest of their lives.
Ample techniques can make the vaccine a smooth process. The child will develop a healthy attitude towards the paediatrician when their expectations are clear. Take a look.
1. Be Honest
Try not to sugar-coat the vaccine session. The kid will lose their trust in you. Tell them that the shot is a pinch that hurts for a few seconds. But it will help avoid dangerous diseases like polio, pox and measles in future. The child must also know that they will feel feverish for some time. Children often see needles as a punishment. Break this myth beforehand. Tell them that their friends take these special medicines too. This could be quite helpful.
2. Pain Distractions
Make sure they do not see the needle being pushed. You can try talking or singing to them. Parents often let the child play games on their phones. Tell them a joke, blow bubbles or play a random video. Ask them to keep breathing to reduce the pain sensation. You can carry the child’s favourite book, blanket or toy as well. These can engage the child otherwise while the immunization is being completed.
3. Immediate Relief
None can deny that vaccines do hurt. So, try to offer quick comfort to the child. Keep them seated on your lap, fondle them for 10-15 minutes or get chocolates. Parents can also gently massage the injection site to ease the pain. You can request an ice pack. It will help reduce sores and redness. Breastfeeding can also offer warmth and relief. Keep smiling and talking to them for extra reassurance before heading back home.
4. Plan Rewards
Parents can offer new toys, a drive or a movie marathon at home as bravery awards. This is also a good way to celebrate this milestone. It will help the child forget the pain and discomfort. They will also look forward to every vaccine session due to the gifts that follow. The child might also be in their best behaviour next time onwards. It is an easy way to help make immunization a positive choice rather than a forceful affair.
5. Parental Attitude
The kid will be brave when they see you calm and composed. Exhibit a confident behaviour around them. Stay cool and collected at all times. Try not to panic or feel stressed out. This will help them know that vaccination is quite a normal process and there is nothing to be afraid of. If one parent is needle-phobic, the other one can accompany the baby.
Pricking needle begins from newborn screening test and will continue till the child reaches 12-14 years of age. It is, therefore, crucial to ensure a vaccine friendly attitude to overcome the fear of needles.