Can Music Help Get Your Kids Through Their Shots?

When little kids need to get a painful injection, a new study shows music therapy can help them get through it.
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I'll be honest—my kids haven't gotten their flu shots yet this year. I know, I know. But ever since I first heard the CDC's announcement that the needle-free FluMist is ineffective, I've been it putting off. Because my kids HATE getting shots—and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone here.

We've tried using a ShotBlocker in the past, and also a vibrating pillow that's supposed to confuse the nerves. And while both do an OK job of using distraction to reduce injection pain, neither one has done anything to cure the raging needle anxiety that plagues both of my kids. Which is why I was more than a little intrigued when I heard about a new study that says music might be the answer.

The study followed 58 children, ages 4 to 6 years, at three different healthcare facilities, and found that when kids received music therapy during a routine immunization visit they were less stressed and better able to cope with getting their shots. In fact, on average, children who received music therapy showed almost twice the level of coping behavior before and during the procedure compared to those who did not. They also showed less than half the level of distress.

Hallelujah!

So how does it work?

According to the study's author, Olivia Yinger, a music therapist from the University of Kentucky, the children and parents interact with a music therapist during each phase of the procedure. And while the music doesn't totally eliminate a child's pain or distress, the distraction helps them focus on it less, which it turn improves their overall perception of getting shots.

Pretty cool! And get this: The kids weren't the only ones who benefited from the tunes, Yinger said—their parents showed five times less distress before and during the procedure, too!

Music to my ears...bring on the Beethoven!

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.

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