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How to help children deal with the fear of shots

Posted at 7:49 PM, Nov 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 19:52:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Children ages 5 to 11 will soon become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

And, with any vaccine, there is often fear associated with it all — especially for children.

A 2018 University of Michigan study found that one in 25 parents postponed a vaccine due to a child's fear.

For children who are fearful of needles, experts at Riley Hospital for Children suggest that parents be honest with their kids that they will be getting a shot and they may feel sick afterward.

Introducing a reward ahead of an appointment is another way to help curb anxiety for children.

Dr. Hillary Blake with Riley Hospital for Children says there are ways to tell if your child may have a phobia when it comes to needles.

“A big thing that we're looking for from a difference of somebody who's like, I don't really like that, to someone afraid of and has a true phobia is their response is kind of over and beyond what you would expect and needs to be a market response is what we're looking at. So that kiddo is having a tantrum, kicking the nurse in the face hiding under a table kind of things that they have to do it. A lot of times we hear parents are straining their kids to get a vaccine or a shot or blood drawn. Or other times we hear about multiple people having to restrain them. So these kids not only are super fearful and go to pretty large lengths to avoid getting out they avoid anything that has to do with the needle. So seeing a needle in a TV show is going to scare them," Blake said.

Dr. Blake said phobias generally develop before 10 years of age. She also adds if your child has a true phobia of needles, psychiatric treatment is needed.