This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are observing National Infant Immunization Week:
National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.
Since 1994, hundreds of communities across the United States have joined together to celebrate the critical role vaccination plays in protecting our children, communities, and public health.
Wanting parents and children to be prepared for their shot visits, the CDC created “9 Things to Make Shots Less Stressful… For You and Your Baby.” Here are a few highlights:
#1. Read Up — The more informed you are about vaccinations, the better you may feel.
If you have questions about the immunizations your child is scheduled to receive, try to write them down before the visit.
#4. Be Honest — Kids are super smart. Take some time to explain in simple terms what to expect. Explain that your child may feel a little pinch and it will go away very fast. Even if your baby can’t understand you just yet, your calming, reassuring voice will make your baby feel more at ease. Never tell scary stories about shots or make threats about shots.
That’s right. “Oooo, the mean doctor is coming to give you your shots now” really kills the mood.
#5. Be Happy & Calm — A smile goes a long way, especially between parents and their children. Children often take their parents’ moods into account when experiencing the world around them. Hugs, cuddles, soft whispers, and a calm, reassuring attitude will help ease children through the vaccination process. Remain upbeat and relaxed before, during, and especially after shots. Let your child know everything is ok.
A parent who loses it right before a shot is given is not being helpful. Instead:
#6. Distract Your Child — Parents are the masters of distraction—use this skill! Pick a careful time to call your child’s name right before the shot, sing your child’s favorite song, or just act plain silly to pull your child’s attention away from the shot giver. Keep the distraction going after vaccine is given.
Read the rest of the CDC’s tips to reduce stress on shot days here.