Vaccinations will protect your child from harmful infectious
diseases. Vaccines must be given with a needle, which causes pain; this
experience can be stressful for both children and parents.
Below are some methods you can use to help reduce the pain
and anxiety associated with having your child vaccinated.
Talk to your doctor
Before your child’s vaccination appointment, discuss your
plan for pain reduction with your doctor so they can support you in this plan. All
of the information below is based on scientifically proven research done by
experts at SickKids and across Canada.
Talk to your child
If your child is 4 years or older, help them to prepare for
their vaccinations by discussing the procedure with them beforehand.
Topics you might want to cover:
- What is going to happen – “the doctor is going to use a needle to give
you a vaccine in your arm”
- Why they need to get a vaccine – “the vaccine will protect you from
- How it will feel – “it might feel like a little pinch”
- What will be done to manage their pain – “we are going to play a game,
so that you do not notice it very much”
Use of topical
Topical anesthetic creams or gels may be applied to the area
where your child will receive their vaccine, in order to reduce pain. In
Canada, these products are available over the counter; they must be applied
between 30 to 60 minutes prior to injection. It is important to discuss this
option with your doctor, and to ensure that the anesthetic gel or cream does
not contain any ingredients that your child is allergic to.
Distract your child
Take with you any items that you can use to distract your
child during their vaccination. These items might include favourite toys,
mobile devices or bubbles. You can also sing, talk or tell jokes to distract
them from any pain they might be experiencing.
Hold your child
Holding your child comfortably in your lap will help to calm
them during their immunizations, and will also encourage them to stay still.
Rub your child’s skin
Rub your child’s arm before, during, and after the
vaccination. The sensation of touch from your hand, rubbing an area of the arm
away from the injection site, will compete with the pain experienced from the
needle. This will help to lessen your child’s perception of pain.
If you are feeling anxious before and during your child’s
vaccination, your child is likely to pick up on these emotions. Even though you
may feel stress related to vaccination, try your best to remain calm. Use your
normal speaking voice, and take slow, deep breaths.
For more detailed
information on the suggestions given above, please download this handout.
Painfree Injections in Children over 1 year EN.pdf