Health Watch - Parental Guidance: Needle Fears

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about the guidance parents provide their children. Getting a shot can be scary for children, and parents are key to helping children get through the experience without too much trauma.

Whether they face vaccinations, medications or tests, children are likely to encounter needles at the doctor’s office. Dr. Deborah Wiebe, a child psychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says distracting children can help them face the needle. Have children count backwards as quickly as they can or blow soap bubbles so they won’t be thinking about the needle. What’s most important is that the parents don’t show fear or act nervous about needles. Parents can’t provide the support or distraction children need if they’re acting afraid. Children who have a negative experience with needles may develop a needle phobia that can interfere with their medical care throughout life.

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April 2010


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