How to distract your toddler when it’s time for their shots

Keeping your child calm when it’s time for their shots is easier said than done. Here’s how to make the experience less traumatic.

 With these tear-reducing tips, you can help your baby or toddler get ready for immunisations.

When it’s time for your child’s scheduled injections, there are ways to keep your youngster distracted and calm.

We all dread going to the doctor’s office for our infant or toddler’s immunisations. Even as adults, the thought of having a needle poked into you can be terrifying, so one can only imagine how terrifying injections can be for a child. The good news is that there are a few ways you can make the process less traumatic, for both of you!

To make injections less painful for your child, try the following suggestions:

  • Before you give them the shot, sit them down and explain that it will sting a little but will help them a lot more.
  • Explain to your child what will happen and why he should be courageous and sit still.
  • Assure your youngster that you will be at their side throughout the procedure and that he can sit on your lap while receiving the shot.
  • Bringing a favourite toy or reading to them can help to keep them occupied while the shot is being given.
  • Maintain your composure. Children are acutely aware of their parents’ anxiety.
  • According to some studies, urging your child to cough as the needle penetrates the skin can help lessen pain.
  • Having something fun (like ice-cream) scheduled for after the visit can get you major brownie points.

The flu jab

The flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu; thousands of children are hospitalised, and some children die from flu. We take a look at some common questions parents have around the flu vaccine.

Remember: In South Africa, the best time for your child to receive the flu vaccine is before the end of April. If your child missed this window, they can still get the vaccine at any time during the winter season.

Is it safe for me to take my child for vaccinations?

The answer is a resounding “yes”. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines for children are safe and effective in preventing life-threatening childhood diseases, with little to no side effects.

According to the South African Government News Agency, 2019’s deadly measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – which killed over 6,000 people in a country already dealing with the world’s largest Ebola outbreak – highlights the importance of maintaining essential health services such as immunisation in times of emergency.

Is it necessary for my child to get vaccinated against the flu?

Yes, the flu vaccine has been emphasised as being particularly crucial this season. The flu vaccine will not protect your child from COVID-19, but it will protect you and your child from the risk of respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus.

What is the minimum age for my child to receive a flu shot?

The flu vaccine is available to babies as young as six months old. Caring for Children, a Canadian paediatric advice website, claims that children aged six months to nine years who have never had a flu shot will require two doses of the vaccine, spaced at least four weeks apart, whereas children who have previously had one or more doses of the normal seasonal flu vaccination will only require one dose every year.