Tips to ease children’s anxieties about getting shots

(CNN) — When children go to the doctor, the first question they usually ask is “will I get a shot?” So what’s the best way to prepare them for a vaccination or other shot?

“Language is really important when dealing with needles,” said Dr. Amy Baxter, Director of Emergency Research at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “Using words like shot, hurt or pinch have actually been proven to increase anxiety. What works better is to use words like bother and comfortable, like ‘we’ve got ways so this won’t bother you.'”

Stress is not just pain — it’s fear, it’s pain and it’s how much attention they’re paying to the shots.

To address that pain, you can give your child ibuprofen or acetominophen before they get a vaccination.

Baxter said “another way to decrease the stress of injections is to have somebody focus on something else. When you’re playing or looking at something else, you’re not able to pay as much attention to the pain and it decreases fear.”

It’s also important to praise children and leave them with a positive memory, even if it didn’t go so well. “And let them know that every time they go through something like this, they get stronger and better,” Baxter said.

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