Hot Shot Tips

If you get squeamish when the doctor says your baby is due for a shot, you're just like most of us. We hate to listen to our little ones cry, and we often wonder if vaccines are really necessary. After all, how many people get whooping cough or rubella?

Thanks to vaccines, many infectious diseases that were once common in this country have now been eliminated or affect only a tiny percentage of people. But the viruses and bacteria that cause these diseases still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines, causing serious illness and death.

Immunizing your child is the safest and most practical way to prevent him from contracting any of these diseases. And for most children, the benefits of immunization are much greater than the risks and discomfort.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of 12 vaccines. When it's time for a shot, make your baby's experience — and yours — a bit less traumatic by trying these tips:

Ask the doctor or nurse if you can hold your child during the immunization. Comforting your baby during the process often makes it easier.

Invite another adult who is close to your child to come with you. If you get anxious about the shot, so will your baby.

Be sure to ask for an information sheet on the vaccination. Federal law requires your doctor to provide you with this information. Some parents have voiced concern about the oral polio vaccine (OPV) that contains the live virus and occasionally causes the disease in someone receiving it. These folks often choose the IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) instead. By researching carefully and understanding the benefits of the vaccination, you can make sure your child is a good candidate for the immunization. These fact sheets also include possible side effects.

Talk with your doctor about relief for mild side effects, such as fever or pain. Relieving your child's symptoms can make the aftermath less difficult.

Observe your child carefully in the hours following a shot. If you notice any significant changes in behavior or signs of an unusual reaction to the vaccine, contact your doctor immediately.

Background Information

Journey of No Return
Sometimes as parents, we have a knee-jerk response to our kids as we're barraged by their numerous inquires and desires. Maybe it's time to stop being so negative.

When Not To Discipline
Parents should recognize when they should and shouldn't discipline their children.

When You Feel Like Calling in the SWAT Team
Are your children constantly testing you? This classic parenting advice will help you regain the upper hand.

Questions and Answers

After I spank my child, she usually wants to hug me and make up, but I continue to be cool to her for a few hours. Do you think that is right?

We'd like to be more unified in our approach, but how do we successfully move from two financial approaches to one?

How long do you think a child should be allowed to cry after being punished? Is there a limit?

I have never spanked my 3-year-old because I am afraid it will teach her to hit others and be a violent person. Do you think I am wrong?

It just seems barbaric to cause pain to a defenseless child. Is it healthy to spank him or her?

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