Hints and tips for parents and caregivers when preparing for vaccination visits

  • Have your vaccination card (road to health card) with you so that it can be updated.
  • Your baby should be wearing something that allows for easy access to the upper leg and upper arm.
  • Remain calm. Babies pick up on your stress and will become unnecessarily anxious and scared at the clinic.
  • Be prepared to offer the child comfort directly after the vaccination. For young children, breast-feed or bottle-feed immediately after the injection to comfort the infant. If breast-feeding, you can also ask the nurse to administer the vaccines whilst the baby is on the breast. For older children, bring a sweet or treat to reward them directly after the vaccination.
  • Bring a book or the child’s favorite toy to use as a distraction after vaccination.
  • Ask the nurse to explain possible side-effects to you so you know what to look out for and how to manage these at home.
  • Don’t plan anything else for the day of vaccination. Take your baby home and keep him quiet and relaxed, rather than taking the child out to errands or play-dates.
  • If your child becomes feverish following vaccination, you may give paracetamol to decrease the fever. It is not necessary to give paracetamol in advance of vaccinations.
  • If you notice anything that concerns you following vaccination, contact your doctor/nurse.
  • Don’t build up anticipation or anxiety about the injection; it is only a small part of the health visit. Most of the visit will be about weighing and measuring the child, discussing nutrition and general health. As soon as your child is old enough, engage them in conversation about visits to their health worker, such as ‘we are visiting the clinic so that the nurse can check you are growing big and strong”.
  • At home, when your children are misbehaving, do not use the clinic as a threat (for example, “if you’re naughty you’ll go the clinic for an injection!) – this builds fear for next time.
  • Reward the child for being so brave during the vaccination (regardless of how much they fussed or cried) and praise them in front of others – build their confidence for next visit.

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