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Fear of Needles: Helping Kids Cope


​​None of us really look forward to getting a shot or a blood draw, but for kids, the prospect can be traumatizing. In fact, there is a strong correlation between fear of needles and avoiding routine healthcare as adults.

Our Boys Town CARES initiative is committed to helping children cope with medical anxiety. Whenever you visit us and your child needs to have a shot, blood drawn or any other procedure that children find stressful, we are here to help you comfort your child.

How can we help? By providing you with resources to make your child's office visit as uneventful as possible. With the options outlined in our Boys Town CARES initiative, we'll help you find the best and most age-appropriate ways to comfort and distract your child.

So, in addition to keeping children calmer and happier today, we are working to improve their future health by doing our best to make routine pokes non-events, instead of traumatizing experiences.

What is Boys Town CARES?

What are our CARES options? CARES is comprised of five simple steps that help children of all ages cope with the stress of shots and procedures.

First, we have Comfort positions that calm and steady squirming and upset children of all ages. Nothing says “It's alright" like a calm, comforting hug.

Second, we Alleviate pain. These techniques are broken down by age group. Anything we can do to lessen the pain of a poke will keep children from becoming upset or fearing doctor's appointments in the future.

Then we have Refocus attention. Sometimes children get so worried about something hurting that they perceive it as worse than it really is. That's why our age-appropriate distractions can help ease tensions. From bubbles and light-up toys to I Spy games or favorite songs, there's a distraction for every age group.

Next, we strive to provide the children in our care and their families with a calm and supportive Environment.

Of course, sometimes children will still cry, no matter what you do. That's when our Soothing techniques come into play. Comfort your child with hugs, praise and maybe even the promise of a treat after it's all over. You know your child best, so don't be afraid to comfort them in the way that works best for your family.

And there you have it. Boys Town CARES … Comfort positions, Alleviate pain, Refocus attention, provide a calm Environment and Soothing techniques….all the ideas you'll need to make a routine vaccination or blood draw no big deal.

Click here to check out CARES options by age group. And to read more about children and a fear of needles, check out the other two articles in this series - Fear of Needles: Consequences to Your Child Health and Fear of Needles: Parents Set the Tone​.

Health;Immunizations Pediatrics