Toddlers (12 months – 24 months)

As kids begin to grow, they can be around other kids and adults who may or may not be vaccinated. One of the best ways to keep your toddler healthy is keeping up to date with immunizations.

Immunizing your toddler

After the first year of life, your baby is starting to talk, walk and remember things. One of those things your child probably remembers is that what a trip to the doctor’s office really means. Below are some tips for dealing with your toddler – although we understand that some are easier said than done!

To prepare yourself

  • Bring your child’s immunization record to the visit with you.
  • Know what vaccines your child should be getting 
  • If your toddler is now walking, talk to the doctor or nurse about giving shots in your child’s arm and not in his or her leg. It will feel better for your toddler.

Tips that help your toddler

  • Keep you healthy: Try explaining to your older toddler about why he/she is getting a shot; that it will keep him/her healthy from getting “boo-boo’s.”
  • Honesty: Be honest about upcoming shots. Don’t say there isn’t going to be a shot when there is going to be one. This may make your toddler associate mistrust with doctors.
  • Fast and Painless: Let your toddler know it’s okay to cry, but encourage him/her to be brave. Explain that a shot doesn’t hurt much (a lot less than scraping a knee) and it only hurts a second. Show your toddler what a second really means.
  • Deep Breath: Keep your cool. If you are stressed, your toddler’s bound to pick up on it.
  • Control: If it’s okay with your doctor, allow your toddler to choose the site for injection (left or right arm) to give your child a sense of control.
  • Distractions: Consider bringing a favorite stuffed animal, a favorite book or blowing bubbles. Having the doctor examine the stuffed animal first can ease some of the anxiety.
  • Offer Praise: No matter how it goes, praise your toddler. This could help for next time.
  • Post-Shot Treats: Promise a treat after the shot and deliver on the promise no matter how poorly it goes.
  • Never use a shot as a threat: As in “If you don’t stop crying, I’m bringing you to the doctor for a shot.”

Growing Up with Vaccines—What Should Parents Know

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Stay home if you are sick

Avoid close contact with
sick people and wear a mask

Cover your nose and mouth
when you sneeze

Wash your hands often

Clean and disinfect

Stay up to date on your vaccinations