How to Prepare your Child for an Injection

Last week I had to take Charlotte (age 3) for her pre-school boosters.

I was really dreading it, as it has been ages since either of the girls needed any jabs and Charlotte is older now and much more aware (and much more vocal!)

I can’t bear that look they give you after the needle goes in, like “MUM why are you allowing this?!”

“Mum guilt” is the worst! That combined with the fact that I am an over-thinker; well let’s just say I have a lot of sleepless nights when it comes to these kiddies!

So because I had started to panic, I asked for your advice leading up to our appointment and I am so glad I did. I was really touched by all of your lovely responses.

One of you kindly reminded me that how I was feeling is totally normal. As parents we are constantly doing everything we can to protect our children and knowing that they are going to feel pain goes against all our instincts.

All of your suggestions were really helpful, so I thought it would be a great idea to share them in order to help other parents too. Of course every child is different, so have a read through and take what you need…

Buy Calpol

Some parents suggested giving this just before the appointment. I don’t know if this is medically advised, but the NHS do advise “Paracetamol will reduce the risk of fever, irritability and general discomfort (including pain at the site of the injection) after vaccination”. I decided to give it to her just before we left and again in the night when she did have a slight temperature.

Have a treat ready to distract them

Read further down as to why this might not be practical at the time! – I did take some sweets and then I let her choose her own treat at the shops after our appointment.

Say it will give them super powers

Tell them that the medicine in the injection will make them strong and give them courage – I did try this with Charlotte, but she hasn’t mentioned it since. However, the mum who suggested it said that her little boy flew around the room after his injections!

One of you mentioned ordering in advance a Superhero T-shirt – what a great idea!

Use a video

Watch something child friendly about injections – We watched an episode of Dr Ranj from Cbeebies, which she seemed to enjoy, but she was a bit disappointed he wasn’t there on the day!

Treat for yourself too for being so brave!

I did take this advice and got myself a Disney mug when I popped to Tesco!

How did it go?

On the day I felt well prepared thanks to all of this great advice and Charlotte seemed quite excited about visiting the doctors (probably because she was expecting Dr Ranj to sing to her! – When she saw the Nurse she did say, but where is the Doctor?!)

I had planned to distract her with a treat as the injection was given, but the nurse told me I should wait until after because she needed me to hold Charlotte very still on my lap.

Unfortunately this meant that Charlotte was sat there watching the needle go into her arm!

I couldn’t believe it, not even a flinch, no tears, nothing! Then the Nurse asked her to turn on my lap so she could get to her other arm, and she turned and sat there as good as gold.

When the needle went in the second time she did look like she wanted to cry, but she just said “it hurts Mummy” and cuddled into me. She was very brave and handled it much better than I had imagined.

Of course then she got her special treat (a tube of Smarties) and she skipped off down the corridor excited to go and treat herself at the shops for being so brave.

Any side effects?

She seemed absolutely fine after her injections, happy, playful self and just one temperature spike the same evening.

I think they said I don’t need to take her for anymore until she is 12 now, so I can relax for a while!

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