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Immunizations: Helping your child

Immunizations are an essential part of keeping your child healthy. Because they are given by injection, immunizations can sometimes be a source of stress and discomfort. You are your child’s best source of comfort, and there are things you can do before, during, and after the injection to improve your child’s experience.


  • Prepare you child with a simple explanation on what to expect. Then make a plan:
    • "The nurse’s job will be..."
    • "Your job will be to hold still and..."
  • Give realistic, limited choices
    • "Do you want to sit next to me or on my lap?"
    • "Do you want to blow bubbles or look at a book?"
  • Apply numbing cream before the visit
  • Bring a favorite toy and/or comfort object


  • Children are usually more comfortable if they are sitting on your lap or have you close by
  • Upright is best, unless the child chooses to lay down
  • Help your child relax, distract with toys, electronics, music, games, or stories
  • Distractions that involve breathing are especially helpful (bubbles, pinwheels)
  • Some children need to watch and that’s okay, too


  • Hold or cuddle your child
  • Congratulate your child on what he or she did well and then move on
  • Remember what worked for next time
  • Provide pain relievers as recommended by your provider

What else do I need to know?

 Additional parent education topics available:

  • Sucrose (sugar water, 24% sucrose)
  • Anesthetic Cream (numbing cream, 4% lidocaine)

This sheet is not specific to your child, but provides general information.  If you have any questions, please talk with your nurse or doctor.

Reviewed 10/2015

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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