Our Comfort Promise
We promise to do all we can to minimize unnecessary distress while you are in our care.
Immunizations and other needle pokes are an important and sometimes frightening part of your child’s health care. Fear of needles most commonly starts in childhood and can result in significant future health impacts. In fact, about 25% of adults have a fear of needles and 10% of the population avoids medical procedures due to needle fears.
As a parent, you are in a unique position to help your child feel more comfortable and brave during needle pokes! Different strategies work for different ages and children.
Breastfeeding offers a combination of soothing methods, including comfort positioning, skin-to-skin contact, sweetness of milk, and the act of sucking. Start breastfeeding a couple minutes before the needle poke and continue during and after the injections.
Oral sucrose, or sugar water, is effective at decreasing short-term pain and distress during needle pokes. A small amount of the sweet solution is placed on the infant’s tongue to reduce procedural pain.
A variety of secure, hugging holds have been shown to reduce stress in younger kids. Ask your MA for help getting into position!
Children & Teens
“Feel” Strategies ~ How can you help your body feel relaxed?
Teach kids to breath and relax their body.
- Pinwheel breathing
- Slow, smooth, steady breathing
- Be loose as a goose!
- Noodle arms
A variety of secure, hugging holds have been shown to reduce distress in younger kids. Ask your MA for help getting into position!
When pressed firmly against the skin, ShotBlocker’s plastic nubs make it harder for pain signals to get to the brain.
Buzzy Bee uses cold and vibration to disrupt pain signals from going to the brain. Buzzy can be used with or without an icepack.
“Think” Strategies ~ What are some true and more helpful thoughts?
Talk about brave, coping behaviors – NOT pain!
- Speak in a calm, soothing, confident voice.
- Do not apologize for pain.
- “You are brave!” Talk about brave things they already did in their appointment.
- “All the kids in preschool (or daycare) get their pokes too. You are brave like them!”
- “It’s just a poke.”
- “It will be over in a second.”
- “I’m brave, and I can do hard things.”
- “It feels just like a little pinch.”
- “Papercuts hurt worse and longer.”
- “Kids in my class get a poke. I can too!”
Shots give you superpowers! Show off your strength and bravery with a SuperSticker!
“Do” Strategies ~ What can you do to keep your mind busy?
Distractions and practice!
- Provide an incentive – bring a picture and talk about the incentive.
- Distract the senses – sing, massage, apply cold, or rock. Help them get into a trance!
- Let them give you a pretend poke first!
- Put your mind and eyes on something enjoyable: videos, toys, or conversation!
- Distract the senses with ShotBlocker® or Buzzy® Bee.
- Reward yourself for brave behavior! Focus on the reward.
Inhale deeply, then blow slowly into the bubble wand. Imagine blowing your worries into the bubble. When it pops, the worry is gone and can’t trouble you anymore.
Breathe in slowly. Hold your breath for 2 seconds (count out loud). Then release your breath by blowing on the pinwheel.
Pliable putty is perfect for stretchy fun and stress relief!
Prepare in Advance
Use this FEEL+THINK+DO handout to help you and your child make a plan and rehearse how to use the skills above.