Psychologists call it belonephobia (fear of needles), aichmophobia (fear of pointed objects) and trypanophobia (fear of injections), but no matter what you call it, fear of needles can be a serious problem because today’s preventive medicine programs include regular injections and blood testing – both of which require needles.
Fortunately, there are things that we as parents can say and do before, during and after the doctor's appointment that can help to calm the child, reduce fears and ensure the development of a healthy attitude toward the family pediatrician.
Stay on schedule. Get your child most of the recommended vaccinations before the age of two. Babies don't remember the pain from a previous visit, but as they get older, they do.
Smile. Children take their cues from us, and if we grimace or tense up, they’ll know there’s something to be worried about.
Don’t lie. Don’t say that the needle prick won't hurt a bit, because it will, and even a little fib means that your child can't trust what you say.
Distract. Depending on the child’s age, anything from a song to a story to a video on the iPhone should do the trick.
Dull the pain. Ask your doctor about ice or a topical cream to reduce pain.
Reward. There’s a reason for the classic lollypop in the doctor’s office – but there are plenty of sugar-free options, like praise for being brave, a trip to the playground or the zoo, or a healthy snack.