Favorite Pediatric Immunization Techniques


Giving immunization to kids is a lot of work. They scream, yell, scratch and refuse to sit still. But, despite the temporary chaos and pain, they're worth it. What are your favorite techniques for poking kiddos without causing too much anxiety and fear?

For the bigger kids who haven't grown out of their fear of needles, I like using the hug technique. If none of my other distraction techniques work, I get the kid to focus on me by telling them I'm going to hug them. This surprises them enough to allow me to hug them, immobilizing the arm, and allowing the other nurse to quickly administer the immunization. Usually it's done so quick, they end up embarrassed that they made such a big deal about it :)


345 Posts

Specializes in family practice and school nursing. Has 30 plus years experience.

Double team.. whenever 2 injections are needed at the same time...

FlyingScot, RN

2,016 Posts

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

Have them sit on mom's lap chest to chest. This should leave both arms and legs available. Quietly count to three and on three have mom give them a great big hug.This works until about 8 years of age and is effective for lab draws and IV's too. After age 8 you should be able to have a "grown-up" conversation with them about sitting still. Now if you have a completely hysterical, out of control or seriously ill-behaved child then a papoose board is your friend. Just call it your "special bed that helps them stay still" or "special bed that will give them a hug". And I second the two-person at a time if more than one injection is needed.

allnurses Guide


1 Article; 4,787 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics Retired.

Everyone has their own restraint techniques but I agree with FlyingScot that, with the kids who are old enough to understand what's happening, you give them the opportunity to be still (with you still on guard for reflexive movement). Otherwise you and your staff do whatever it takes to administer the medicine. I don't use trickery, distraction, or bargaining. Yes, shots hurt, and no one likes to get shots but the medicine has been ordered for the child's well being and he/she will be receiving it.


1,007 Posts

Has 6 years experience.

We do subcu shots ALL day long, so I tell them spaghetti arms and that I have to be able to jiggle the back of the arm, and as I'm ready to go in I tell them to take a deep breath and blow it out as I'm injecting.


245 Posts

Specializes in Ambulatory, Corrections, SNF, LTC, Rehab. Has 6 years experience.

For 1-3 yo. I used to lay them down with their back, then dangle their legs at end of the bed then lock their leg using my legs. in that case they can't move and i can give the shots quickly. for 4 and up 2 or 3 persons will hold them depends if the kid is very strong and uncooperative haha


47 Posts

I second what nursefrom cali said. That's the same technique that I use and it's super helpful. Even though they can still kick a little bit, if the parents help to hold their arms it works every time for me. With the bigger kids I have the parents give them a hug and tell the parents to hold tight. Sometimes with little babies I have the moms distract them with a toy. And even though the kids may scream and kick, I do give them something like a sticker so they can see that going to doctor's office isn't all bad. Oh and I just love it when parents tell their kids that if they're bad they will have me give their child a shot...:no: