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How can I make doctor visits and injections easier on my child?

While there’s nothing as heartbreaking as having your tiny baby cry because of shots, it’s not until your child is a toddler that the real battle with doctor visits begin. That’s because your child has realised that a visit to the doctor (or dentist as the case may be) usually results in something unpleasant, like an injection, and they’re likely to put up quite the argument to avoid that!

Choose the right time. If your child is hungry, tired, or just plain grumpy, a visit to the doctor’s office isn’t going to improve his or her mood! Wait for a time when your child is happy and relaxed.

Play doctor. Letting your child pretend to be the doctor, either with a doll, or using toy instruments, can make the whole experience a lot less foreign.

Don’t make a big deal of it. If you make a big fuss of your child after an injection, he or she is likely to cry more, to get more attention. Rather play it down, and distract him or her with a toy or treat after it’s over.

Speak to your child. Your toddler can probably understand a lot more than you give him  credit for. Tell him why you’re going to the doctor, and that the doctor is going to make him feel better. In the case of immunisations, explain that the injections will prevent him from getting sick.

Choose a doctor that’s child friendly. Some doctors offices are boring, dull or clinical. Doctors that are child friendly are fun to visit. If you choose the right doctor, there’s a better chance your child will enjoy the visits.

Lastly, if you know your child is going to get an injection, buy a cream that numbs the skin before hand, and apply it before your visit. Alternatively, prepare by giving your child a dose of child safe pain and fever medication (paracetamol or ibuprofen) a short while before the appointment.

More questions

Concern over give infants cold medicine
There are very specific guidelines when it comes to safely administering over the counter medications to babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Fever is often the first sign of an illness in children. When your child has a temperature it can be a worrying and stressful time.
Sore throats and coughs are two very common illnesses for children.
Once you have established your baby has a fever and have taken practical measures, such as placing them in a cooler environment, to combat this, a fever-reducing medication can be administered.
Febrile convulsions are caused by a rapid increase in the body temperature of young children.
Once you have established your baby has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control
If your baby has a slight fever, there are a number of measures you can take to keep it under control.
The average body temperature should be between 35°C and 37°C.
 
While a fever can be treated, it's important to keep in mind that fevers are usually the symptom of an illness and not the illness itself.

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