Minimizing the Ouch Factor – 9 Tips to Make Vaccinations Easier for Kids

Posted by Nichole Baxter on 2/14/18 10:51 AM

If you’re taking your child in for their flu shot or vaccinations, you’ll want to be prepared. Comforting your child before, during, and after a shot can help reduce the risk of developing a fear of needles.

Our pediatricians have pulled together some suggestions for minimizing overreactions to shots by age. (Jump to infographic.)

To help children a year of age or younger through a shot, Swapna Kudtarkar, MD, a pediatrician with Dignity Health Medical Group – Inland Empire, recommends the following:

  • Hold your baby in your lap and feed them, or give them a pacifier during shot.
  • Swaddle the baby immediately after the shot, and rock them close to your body.
  • Apply gentle pressure and massage around the injection site, to reduce post-vaccine tenderness.

Sarah Favila, MD, a pediatrician with Dignity Health Medical Foundation – Woodland and Davis, has a different set of suggestions for parents with children between one and three years old.

  • Bring along a special toy to give your child just before the shot. This helps distract them from the prick.
  • Invite your child to sing their favorite song with you, just before and during the shot.
  • Stay calm! Your child will pick up on your mood, if you seem nervous or worried.

For children between four and six years old, Katie Meyer, DO, a pediatrician with Dignity Health Medical Group – Merced, recommends:

  • If your child asks about their shots, be honest but comforting. Let your child know that vaccines help protect them and keep them nice and healthy.
  • Studies have shown that having a child cough or pretend to blow out a birthday candles while they receive a shot can minimize overreactions.
  • Offer your child a small reward for getting their vaccine. This gives them something to look forward to and takes focus off of the shot.

Find a pediatrician who specializes in humankindness near you by visiting


Topics: Health & Wellness, Tips & Trends, Family Medicine, Mercy Imaging Centers, DHMG - Sequoia, DHMG - San Francisco, DHMG - Bakersfield, Mercy Medical Group, DHMG - Stockton, DHMG - Merced, Woodland Clinic, DHMG - Dominican, Pediatrics, DHMG - Inland Empire, DHMG - Ventura County, Primary Care, DHMG - Northridge, Redding, Red Bluff, DHMG - North State

Welcome to the Dignity Health Medical Foundation news blog. Here we share health and wellness tips, the latest news from our medical groups, and more!

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts