Conquering Kids’ Fear of Needles
If your child is anything like mine, you probably dread vaccination day. When my then 3-year-old daughter wrapped her arms around me, and used every muscle in her little legs to push off of the examination table sending me flying backward into the hall, I have to admit, I deeply considered skipping the next round. But we pushed through them, and now at five, she’s replaced her fear of needles with a fear of large cotton swabs (a strep test — it’s a long story).
Although we’ve all witnessed a runaway kid or two at the pediatrician’s office, the truth behind this needle nightmare is that one in every 10 Americans has a fear needles, or trypanophobia. Digital health media company, Healthline, has called it an under-reported healthcare crisis. Fear of needles can cause a person to skip vaccinations, which puts everyone’s health at risk.
According to Healthline, needle phobia usually develops around age 4 or 5 with a traumatic immunization experience. And if you told your kid that it wasn’t going to hurt, you can bet his immunization experience was traumatic.
According to Healthline’s CEO West Shell, “The key to ending needle phobia is awareness, education, and action. Needle phobia must be addressed and it must be addressed on large public platforms. Fear of snakes or fear of public speaking doesn’t kill people, but fear of needles does.”
Healthline has recently launched a public health campaign to help put an end to needle phobia. Take the End Needle Phobia Pledge, and help prevent your children from developing needle phobia by telling them the truth: shots help to protect them and others from dangerous diseases, and they hurt – but only for a second.
You can also download the first ever app to help children overcome their fear of needles, Pablo the Pufferfish: Big Shots Game.
Our kids get about 30 shots before they turn 5. It’s time we take steps toward making it easier on all of us.
Image: Worried and Afraid Little Girl Receiving An Injection via Shutterstock