Comfort and distract your child during a vaccination

The support of a parent or guardian is a vital part of a child's getting vaccinated. One way parents support their children is by learning about the different vaccinations and asking questions in advance.  Don't rely on hearsay (neither in person nor on the Internet), but ask your pediatrician about the comparative risks between potential complications versus contracting the disease itself.

Another way a parent can support his child is to offer comfort during the appointment. Seeing the needle and feeling the sting of the injection can be scary. The following immunization tips will help you and your child get through the experience.

During a doctor's appointment, parents sometimes have to hold their children, especially younger children. When vaccinations are being administered, holding one's child in a comforting way is both necessary and beneficial. Some benefits include providing safety and comfort for the child. The provider administering the shots can instruct you on how to hold your child safely.

Another way parents can offer support is to distract their child by singing and reading. Bringing a child's favorite toy, book or blanket can help him feel more secure. For infants, it might be comforting to nurse or feed them. For older children, you can ask them to take a deep breath or to look at things around the room.

Remember that getting shots can be scary for children of all ages. If your child cries after receiving his immunizations, provide comfort. Pile on words of praise and offer unlimited hugs afterward. Even if your child is older, it is important not to scold him for crying. Regardless of your child's age, reassure him that everything is okay and he did a great job.

If you don't yet have a pediatrician, start with the list of local doctors provided by your insurance company.  You can use Angie's List to look up reviews on pediatricians in your city.  For example, of the 2,237 Houston pediatricans, only 226 have been given top reviews by patients who are Angie's List members.

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