FRIDAY 5 Nov. 2021 (HealthDay News) – Across the country, children between the ages of 5 and 11 are queuing up to get their first dose of Pfizer’s newly approved COVID-19 pediatrics vaccine.
Most children fear needles, but a few simple steps can help your little one get their COVID-19 shots with the least tears shed, experts say.
First you have to get your own head together, said dr. Vera Feuer, director of emergency psychiatry and behavioral health urgent care at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY said.
“Before you talk to your child about the vaccine, first check your own temperature,” Feuer said. “Make sure you are calm and present it in a matter-of-fact, confident way so that your child can feel good and safe about getting the vaccine. Children pick up their parents’s. tension and anxiety, and it’s very important to model good handling for them. “
Once you have yourself in the right state of mind, prepare your child for what to expect at the doctor’s office, pharmacy or community clinic.
It’s better if you have this conversation a day or so before their appointment, and to be completely honest about the experience, dr. Catherine Pourdavoud,’n pediatrician with the Calabasas Pediatrics Wellness Center in Calabasas, California.
“You want to build confidence for future vaccines and doctor visits as well, so it’s best not to surprise your child on the day of the vaccine or tell them it will not hurt,” Pourdavoud said.
At the same time, there is nothing wrong with putting your conversation into words that are less frightening to children, Pourdavoud added.
“Using words like ‘stitch’ or ‘pinch’ instead of ‘shot’ or ‘needle’ can create a more positive experience for your child,” Pourdavoud said.
Make sure it’s a two-way conversation, Feuer added. Ask them about their fears and anxieties related to getting a shot, and correct any misinformation they may have.
“With children who are younger or especially scared, it can also be helpful to alleviate fears of practicing with a doll at home or reading books about it,” Feuer said.
On the day of their appointment, make an effort to help your child feel as in control of the experience as they can, Feuer said.
“We all feel better and less anxious when we feel in control,” Feuer said. “Whatever choices may be given to your child, let them choose. The shirt they wear, the arm in which they get the shot, with whom they go to the appointment, what toy to bring for comfort or distraction – find and offer choices whenever you can, so that children can feel that the situation is under their control. “
In fact, asking your child to pick a favorite stuffed animal, toy, or game to bring along can help them stay calm during the vaccination, Pourdavoud said.
“She can hug teddy tightly or hold both his hand and yours when she gets stabbed,” Pourdavoud said. “For older children, their convenience item can be a phone or tablet to watch a video or listen to music before and during their immunization “Even pediatricians approve screen time for distractions during vaccinations and procedures.”
Make your pediatrician your partner
Feuer and Pourdavoud both recommend reaching out to your pediatrician ahead of time to come up with the best plan to alleviate your child’s fears and get them through the lap.
“Involve your pediatric providers to make a plan and prepare your child,” Feuer said. “They have a lot of experience getting kids through painful moments like this.”
When it’s your child’s turn, you can offer to have them sit on your lap or hold your hand, the experts said. You might be able to sing a song with them, or do something else that distracts them from the needle.
Your doctor may apply an anesthetic cream or spray to the shot to reduce the prickly sensation, Pourdavoud said. There are also vibration devices that can help divert your child’s brain from the needle sting.
And once that is done, make sure you reward your child with praise and attention.
“After your child gets the vaccine, congratulations and praise her for what a wonderful job she has done and how proud you are of her!” Pourdavoud said. “Give her a high-five, warm tight hug, or sticker.
“You might even want to stop at the park on the way home to jump on the swing, buy a special treat like a new book at the bookstore, or share an ice cream to share a positive memory from the experience. create, ”she continued. “Even if your child cried or screamed, still praise her when it’s done! No one likes to get shot, and your child was super brave.”
Colorado Children’s Hospital has more left to help your children handle shots.
SOURCES: Vera Feuer, MD, Director, Emergency Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Urgent Care, Cohen Children’s Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY; Catherine Pourdavoud, Managing Director, Pediatrician, Calabasas Pediatrics Wellness Center, Calabasas, California