“Truthfully, a vaccination can hurt,” Molly Jonna, MD, Pediatrics, said. “But we can help reduce the pain
as well as the anxiety of it by supporting your child from start to finish.”
First, be honest with them.
“The single most important thing is that you don’t lie to your child,” Dr. Jonna said. “If they ask if they
will got a shot, say yes. Not only with this make it easier on them but it helps decrease fears about going
back to the doctor for other appointments.”
Second, help distract them appropriately.
“Bring in your child’s favorite toy, sing their favorite song or let them play on your phone during the
vaccination,” Dr. Jonna said.
Pediatricians also encourage the use of comfort holds to decrease movement, and therefore potential
“Review the holds before you come in for your appointment so you’re ready. It’s import to keep them
still but not to pin them down or completely restrict their movement. Doing so may make your kid feel
like they have no control and actually hinder your efforts,” Stefanie Schroeder, DO, said.
If needed, talk with your child’s doctor about using a topical numbing cream or a mild pain reliever to
reduce your child’s pain.
Following the vaccination, be sure to offer words of encouragement rather than dismissing their
“Instead of saying “Oh, now that didn’t hurt,” or “Big kids don’t cry,” try, “I know that was hard” or “I’m
so proud of how well you did.”
Brent Refisteck, MD, medical director, Children’s Services for Carle Health said keeping up to date on all
of your child’s immunizations positively affects their overall health.
“Keeping up with routine vaccines is very important. They help ward off serious illnesses that can have a
lasting impact on your child’s well-being.”
Additionally, Dr. Reifsteck said, “Routine wellness visits alongside your vaccines can help us monitor any
changes and address early any chronic issues facing your child like diabetes, obesity, heart or lung issues
Current Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines recommend a series of vaccines at birth 2, 4
and 6 months. Then, another set at 12 to 18 months and again when entering Kindergarten.
For older children, parents should consider delivering the HPV vaccine for both boys and girls around
age 11 as well getting as vaccines to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)
and meningitis. And then offer a meningitis B vaccine around 16 to 18 year before entering college.
“And of course, your annual flu shot,” Dr. Schroeder said. “It’s really important every year but even
more so now when we’re battling a number of nasty respiratory viruses including COVID-19 which can
get children sick.”
Categories: Staying Healthy