Skip to main content

Spira Care Centers will be closed in observance of select holidays. View the holiday schedule here. Happy holidays!

Quick Access Tools

Phone Icon 913-29-SPIRA (77472)

© 2024 Spira Care. All Rights Reserved. Health plans with exclusive access to Spira Care are available through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

How to Get Over Fear of Needles for Kids

Thanks to childhood vaccinations, parents no longer have to fear polio, tetanus, and diphtheria; they don’t have to worry about their kiddos coming down with measles, mumps, and rubella. But many youngsters have a fear of vaccines. So Spira Care has some important advice on how to get over fear of needles for kids.

Immunizations are safe, effective, and one of the greatest public health achievements, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and Dr. Michael McGinnis. Dr. McGinnis practices at Spira Care Overland Park and is board-certified in pediatrics and internal medicine.

“Immunizations have been a great success from a medical standpoint. They’re proven to reduce morbidity and mortality, especially in kids,” Dr. McGinnis says.

Dr. McGinnis continues, “Routine immunizations are very important and are at the forefront of what we do in terms of preventive health. Several routine vaccinations in the first two years of life go a long way to decrease things such as ear infections, respiratory infections, blood infections, as well as gastroenteritis, common influenza, and now COVID,” Dr. McGinnis shares.

Vaccination schedule for children                                              

On-time vaccination throughout childhood is essential, helping to provide immunity before kids are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Dr. McGinnis explains, “Following the routine standard immunizations and standards are foundational to keeping kids healthy.”

If you have any questions about childhood routine immunizations, talk to your child’s primary care provider. They can tell you what vaccines your child needs and when.

How to not be scared of shots

It’s common and perfectly normal for children to express fear or anxiety over getting a shot. “We tend to see more anxiety if immunizations are spaced out. When parents choose to do an amended schedule or do one shot at a time every month or two, the child quickly learns to associate doctor visits with getting a shot,” Dr. McGinnis shares.

That’s why Dr. McGinnis favors the standard schedule over an intermittent schedule. “The standard schedule is helpful because it clusters the immunizations. Kids don’t get shots as frequently, so the memory isn’t as strong for the child.”

7 tips to help children with vaccination and needle fears

Dr. McGinnis acknowledges,” It’s hard to see your little ones get shots, but it should bring comfort to know that they’re getting the protection they need.”

Here are some ways to calm your children’s fears and help them understand why vaccinations are so important.

  1. Be honest: Explain that the shot will hurt, but only for a little while. Emphasize that it will keep them from getting sick.  
  2. Bring a comfort item: A favorite something from home like a teddy bear, a doll, book, a game, or a video can be a reassuring distraction.
  3. “Practice” beforehand: Use a toy medical kit to get your youngster familiar with the tools and gadgets that doctors use.
  4. Remain calm: Being nervous can make your child even more so. Smile, relax your body posture, and be present. Hint: Put down your phone.
  5. Hold little ones in your lap: Soothe your infant or child by placing them in your lap. You can rock them after the shot to lessen their crying.
  6. Desensitize the pain: As your child is getting vaccinated, get them to take three deep breaths to relax. Another trick is to have your child cough – once as a warmup and then again as the needle pricks.
  7. Reward and celebrate: Praise your child for a job well done and offer some kind of reward. A treat like an ice cream cone or a trip to the playground can create positive associations with vaccination day. 

Have Vaccine Questions? Start with Your Child’s Primary Care Provider or Pediatrician.

Where should parents turn if they have questions or concerns about vaccinations? Your child’s healthcare provider is your first source of reliable information.

Dr. McGinnis urges, “Talk to your primary care provider, family medicine specialist, or pediatrician about your child’s health. We’re here to help field your questions and navigate healthy living for everyone.”

You can also find more in-depth information about immunizations at the CDC website and the American Academy of Pediatrics website written especially for parents: AAP

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP,

Spira Care Neighborhood Drawing