How to help your child overcome his fear of needles.

When your child Afraid of needles, a routine visit to the pediatrician can be stressful for parents and children alike.

If your child becomes upset in these situations, take comfort in knowing that he or she is not alone. Oh A 2019 meta-analysis of studies on the topic It turns out that the majority of young children are afraid of needles.

This fear can range from mild anxiety to full-blown panic. Most of the time, these feelings can be managed with simple tools and caregivers. However, if your child experiences Extreme anxiety about vaccines, then work with a professional — such as a pediatrician Behavioral health therapist – can be a great resource.

Reducing shot anxiety is important for your child’s own well-being, but it can also have major implications for overall health. Researchers have found A link between needle phobia and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. So it is possible to eliminate these concerns quickly. “A pathway to long-term vaccine acceptance,” Dr. Natasha Bergerta pediatrician in Overland Park, Kansas, wrote in it Newsletter.

We asked medical professionals to share their advice on how to help a child who is afraid of needles. Here’s what they told us:

Don’t call them “shots” for starters.

Words like “shots,” “oaches” or “pokes” all have negative connotations that indicate pain. Instead, call them immunizations, vaccines or drugs, “because it makes it more clinical and drives home that we’re doing it for their health and their safety”. Tia Ragland Medley – medical director of MedStar Franklin Square Pediatrics in Baltimore told OlxPraca.

Play doctor at home for practice.

Give your baby your dolls, stuffed animals or you play shots when you’re at home in a relaxed, low-stress environment. Or you can try reading them. Children’s books on the subject. To help them prepare for the meeting.

“My daughter has a ‘doctor’s kit’ that includes a syringe with a needle. When she gives me ‘shots,’ I always respond with, ‘Oh, wow, thanks! I “Feeling much better now,” and I repeat this phrase when she gets her vaccine. Karen L. GentileA pediatric nurse practitioner at National Jewish Health in Denver told OlxPraca. “I never respond with an ‘ouch’ or a fake cry because that sends the message that she should respond the same way.”

Validate their feelings.

Avoid diminishing their fears by saying things like, “It’s not that bad,” “Just suck it up,” or “Don’t worry,” all of which make children feel unheard, Medley said. can

Instead of telling your child it’s okay, say something like: “I know you’re scared, and that’s okay because sometimes I’m scared too. But I’ll be right here with you to comfort you,” Gentile said.

Likewise, you may be tempted to reassure your child that the pills don’t hurt. Bergert recommends being honest. But your approach isn’t alarmist: “Getting the shot might hurt a little, but it’s helping your body get stronger. Any pain you feel will go away quickly. ”

You don’t need to apologize.

Saying “I’m sorry” when your child needs to be vaccinated may seem kind, but it sends the wrong message.

“Forgiveness happens when we do something wrong, but it’s not wrong to take steps to protect your child’s health,” Medley said.

Providing too much reassurance and empathy can actually make things worse in this situation, Bergert said.

“When parents talk a lot about shots, children become more anxious and fearful than if fewer words are spoken,” she says. wrote in his newsletter. “So, keep it short and sweet. When discussing shots, use honest language, keep explanations brief, stay calm, be matter-of-fact, and don’t express personal concern about hurting children. ”

Medley also advises parents to avoid calling the nurse or whoever is administering the shot “meaning the lady” or putting the person in a negative light.

“We do not blame others or use the names of those who are trying to help us,” Medley added.

Bring some of your child’s favorite things to the appointment.

Bringing along a cuddly object such as a toy, stuffed animal or blanket can provide a good dose of comfort.

“They can hug their toy, turn away from the needle and read their book or watch their favorite TV show or music video,” Medley said.

Screen time and music can also be good distractions for older children. You can also try to communicate or do something with them. Deep breathing exercises.

Try to keep yourself calm too.

Babies will look to their caregivers to figure out how to respond to a situation. If you are able to remain calm, cool and collected, that sweet energy will rub off on them too.

“Manage your own anxiety,” Gentile said. “Children model our behavior and react to our behavior. If you yourself are extremely anxious, consider leaving the room and letting another family member stay with the child. Consider your appearance. Keep calm and cool so your child stays calm too.”

Comfort them.

Ask your child if they would like to hold your hand or perhaps sit on your lap while the vaccine is administered. Or they may prefer to sit next to you and stand close to you.

Gentile encourages parents to cheer, clap and hug to make the experience more positive.

Use the tools and tricks at your disposal.

There are many things you can buy to help ease the pain of the vaccine. Your pediatrician’s office may also have some on hand, so it’s worth asking.

Ice packs and more Spray Provide a feeling of coldness or numbness, and Vibration devices Interrupting pain signals in the brain, Gentile said.

Burgert is a fan of the “cough trick.”

“For tweens and teens, ask for a moderately hard cough as a ‘warm-up,’ followed by another cough as the needle is inserted,” she says. explained in its newsletter. “My patients are always amazed at how much this simple trick helps reduce pain.”

Another thing to consider: Asking the doctor if you can get the shots at the beginning of the visit rather than at the end. That way you’ll get the hard part out of the way first.

Reward them later.

After the appointment is over, give your child something fun to look forward to.

Medley recommends things like stickers, age-appropriate small toys, extra playtime or a trip to the park.

“Post-vaccine rewards are great for helping the child focus on the reward rather than the vaccine,” she said.

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