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getting shots/taking blood

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  • getting shots/taking blood

    Hi everyone, yet another question for me. How do you handle taking your toddlers for shots/taking blood? My DS gets absolutely hysterical and I have to physically restrain his arms and legs to let the doctor give him shots. It is heartbreaking for both of us and I hate imposing my force and will on him when I avoid that at all costs in all of our other interactions. No amount of singing during or role-playing beforehand helps the situation. He now hates our doctor so much that he gets hysterical even when she tries to listen to his chest with a stethoscope. Any tips on how to handle this situation in a loving way? Thank you.

  • #2
    I think this is a tough issue for a lot of parents! Here are some responses from the Facebook page:

    Comment 1:
    I could really use some advice on this too. Our son does the same thing.

    Comment 2:
    Ditto. Always a sucky situation.

    Comment 3:
    The best I've been able to do is begin by nursing my 8-month-old, and then nurse afterward. I spend a lot of time alone in the room with her after as well. I don't know what to do beyond this, or for older children!

    Comment 4:
    I nurse mine while they get a needle poke. The oldest never cried and the youngest always does. Some kids are just more sensitive.

    Comment 5:
    We can't decide what is worse, the anticipation of a stick (telling her 1st, before the appt) or waiting il we get there. Both seem so traumatic! She remembers even finger pricks and talks about them for months afterwards (at age 4). When she was younger nursing before, during, after, whenever was the solution. Lollipops ans stickers ease the pain a little now.

    Comment 6:
    been through many a time having four adults holding down my daughter. she grew out of that and can take a shot or getting blood takin so much better now that she is 12.

    Comment 7:
    My little guy will start crying and clinging to me at the sight of one of the nurses at his peditrician's office... I discovered that a small cup of water to sip on calms him down--- I just snatch one of the little dixie cups in the room and put about 1/2 inch of water in it and help him take tiny sips.

    Comment 8:
    I have seen a nurse use a pinwheel during a blood draw that worked fantastic on another 4yr old. She brought out this bright sparkly pinwheel and requested that he blow and get it spinning as fast as he could! While that was going on, the other M.A. drew blood and he barely felt a thing. She held the pinwheel facing the opposite direction of the M.A. and helped him focus on blowing while the blood draw took place. Seemed to work great from what I saw Hope this can help!

    Comment 9:
    i always nursed my daughter right after or during the shots, it helps a lot. at a year though we decided against vaccinating and will not be vaccinating our new baby when he/she gets here. we will however be getting evelyns blood drawn for a lead test soon, i'm hoping it goes well...she has watched me get my blood drawn and i explained it while it was happening, told her that it hurt a little tiny bit but that i was okay. hoping that it helps!

    Comment 10:
    My now 2 1/2 old son had an ER visit about a year ago for dehydration and fever. At the time I was really worried about him because his temp was over 105. Going to the ER traumatized him so much that I have not even been able to get him close to a doctors office since, even when the appointment is for me. I am physically not strong enough to hold onto him. In hindsight, I wish i would have given it more time. Being a nurse myself (and an old ER nurse) I should have known better. He was still taking fluids. I think the medical community needs to take this traumatization more seriously and be more sensitive to our kids in the office, hospital, ER, and not expose them unnecessarily to medical procedures. Now I don't even know if I will be able to take him for his well visits.


    • #3
      thank you so much, kelly!


      • #4
        I've struggled with this as well for vaccinations. I've found that talking about it beforehand makes it much worse because he anticipates it for days. Sugar is supposed to help a bit with the pain so try bringing a lollipop for your child to suck on during the shot or blood draw. I don't know if your family uses any media, but I've found that having a new game on my iphone for my DS to play during the shot helps with keeping him distracted. You could also bring a little cup of ice and use the ice to numb the area a little beforehand. Some nurses will give a small injection before a blood draw to deaden the pain. This may be worse as it's two sticks, but maybe not. I think you can use a bit of anbesol teething gel to help deaden the pain as well.

        When doing the role playing it can be helpful to let your child be the one with the power (giving the shot) while you howl dramatically (but silly enough that your child knows it's all a game). If this is a little too close to the real life you can come up with other games that give the power to your child. Pretend that you are terrified to go into your bedroom because you are afraid of pillows, so you need his help. The sillier you make it, the funnier and less intimidating it will be for your little one.

        If there is anytime you need bloodwork or a shot, try to arrange it so your DS can go and see you getting the shot/blood draw. Try telling him stories about when you were his age and you were scared to get shots. Talk about some of his friends and how they also get shots sometimes (if that's true). I think it helps little ones to know that they aren't alone in this. At the appointment you can talk about what you are going to do after the appointment. Of course it helps to have something to look forward to like going out for ice cream or meeting friends at the park. I wouldn't use the ice cream as a bribe, just as a bright point to look forward to.

        He may like reading books about what happens when you go to the doctor. My librarian was able to find a bunch of books to help us through this.

        See if it would be okay for you to go for "happy visits" now and then. Just go and sit in the waiting room and read books. If your doctor and/or staff has the time, go back to an exam room and read books there for a bit.

        Even with all of this, it may come down to having to restrain him. If this happens, keep telling him that you understand how upset/scared he is and reassure him that you love him. Talk to him before and after about why the shots or blood work are needed.
        Last edited by KnittingMama; 01-19-2011, 01:51 PM.