Infants and children
In the past, infectious diseases took a terrible toll on the lives of children. Thanks in part to vaccines, that’s no longer the case. To maintain low incidence rates of disease, it’s important to immunize children—even for diseases that seem antiquated. The routine childhood vaccination schedule begins at 8 weeks of age and continues until 4 to 6 years.
A cocoon for newborns
Encourage caregivers and siblings of your pediatric patients to stay up-to-date on their vaccines, especially Tdap and influenza. This reduces the risk of spreading these diseases to newborns and infants, who are either too young to be vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. This strategy is called “cocooning.”
Nursing interventions: Parent education and comforting techniques
For a host of reasons, parents may have concerns about vaccinating their children. Some may be misinformed or have false beliefs about vaccines. Others may be concerned that their baby will cry. Reassure them it’s okay to be concerned, but stress that vaccines are the safest and most effective way to protect their child from dangerous diseases.
When vaccinating children, here are some comforting techniques to use:
- Ask parents to hold their child during the injection. This makes the child feel secure rather than overpowered.
- Give a pacifier or encourage breastfeeding during and after vaccine administration.
- Talk softly, sing to the child, and use toys (such as hand puppets) for distraction.
Vaccines protect yourself, your family, your patients, and your community. Don’t risk it. Be vaccinated!
For additional information on recommended and required vaccinations in your practice setting or state, visit http://www.nursingworld.org/immunize/.