Experts say how to help children who are afraid of injections

2021-11-16 21:18:33 By : Ms. Julia Xiao

Between tears and tantrums, this can be a stressful ordeal.

If you never need to restrain your 5-year-old child who twists and screams while the nurse is injecting the vaccine at lightning speed, then you can rest assured that this is a feat that no parent or child would want to endure unless They definitely have it. With the Covid-19 vaccine now approved for emergency use authorization for children aged 5 to 11, parents of children prone to intense injection anxiety are scrambling to prepare their children for injections. Here's how to help a child who is afraid of being shot through the storm with as few tears as possible.

If your child is particularly nervous (or completely collapsed) during the injection, they are not alone. "At least two-thirds of children and one-quarter of adults are afraid of injections," the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports.

"Children may be afraid of injections for a variety of reasons, including traumatic experiences from previous vaccinations or other medical procedures; caregiver reactions/actions during injections; a developmental stage; or due to underlying mental health issues such as anxiety Disease," Pediatrician Dr. Whitney Casares told Romper

Pediatrician Dr. Natasha Burgert stated in an article by Forbes Health that the problem is that children’s fear of needles usually does not appear until around 5 years old. This means that children of the same age who are now eligible for the Covid vaccine may be particularly susceptible to this type of injection anxiety disorder.

Burgert told Romper via email that one of the most common reasons for children's anxiety is anticipation. "Especially for the almost painless Covid vaccine, children are more worried about injections than actual injections," she said. “It’s not uncommon for a child to say in a hurry after the injection,'This is not bad at all'.”

Burgert also reported that the trauma caused by the negative experience of previous injections can make children feel more anxious about the upcoming vaccine, which may lead to increased pain responses. Therefore, if your child has a particularly difficult situation when getting the early childhood vaccine, they are likely to be nervous about getting this vaccine.

As previously reported by Romper, approximately 1 million children in the newly authorized age group have received the first dose of Pfizer’s BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. After scheduling your child's appointment, one way to help them prepare for the injection is to reassure them that many other children have gone through this process and everything is going well.

AAP recommends that you choose your words wisely when talking to a child who is afraid of being shot. Yes, you should be honest with your child, this can cause harm, but you can also use less blunt terms like "pinch" or "poke" to express what is about to happen.

Never lie to your child: "If you know your child will be vaccinated, tell them otherwise it will damage the trust between the two of you," the Cleveland Clinic warned.

Renee Schneider, Ph.D. is the Vice President and Head of Treatment at Brightline, a virtual behavioral health support network for families. She told Romper that, especially for the Covid vaccine, because peers and parents are very concerned about this special vaccine, some children may worry about side effects or be particularly nervous. Schneider said: “Many children hear their parents talking about or see their parents fighting with side effects after receiving the Covid vaccine, so it’s important to talk openly about side effects with children in a developmentally suitable way.” “Yes, it may be. There are some side effects, but if they do happen, they are likely to be trivial things. For example, your arm may be sore for a day. The side effects will disappear soon; they won’t stay for too long.”

When some children get all the information in advance, they actually feel less nervous. If your child is like this, you can talk about the safety aspects of vaccination and remind them that it is a doctor’s job to help them stay healthy, and this vaccine does exactly that.

Burgert told Romper that parents should keep their explanations "short and sweet," but don't apologize to avoid increasing fear of expectations. "When discussing the camera, use honest language, brief explanations, stay calm, keep a realistic attitude, and don't project personal concerns about your child's discomfort on your child," she explained.

When the important day comes, you need to make a plan to keep your child calm throughout the process. Especially for the Covid-19 vaccine, they need a second dose to complete the vaccination, so it is important to ensure that the first dose goes as smoothly as possible.

Take a deep breath. You (and your kids) have already got this.

Natasha Burgert, MD, FAAP, Pediatrician, South Overland Park, Kansas

Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP, author of "The Blueprint for Professional Mothers": Winning Parenting Without Losing Oneself

Dr. Renee Schneider, Vice President and Head of Therapy, Brightline