I just got back from taking my son to his 18-month doctor appointment. I think he must remember the last time, at 15 months, because he started screaming the moment the nurse came out until I had him back in the car seat going home. He had a similar experience last time also. This time I tried two new things. I brought his favorite stuffed Dog with us and I also brought a little piece of brownie to help calm him down after the shots (he rarely gets sugar so this is a big treat). I think the dog may have helped a little. The brownie didn't help at all even though he normally loves it. I was holding him the whole time the exam happened so he never was separated from me. Is there anything I can do so next time, at 2 years, will be a more pleasant experience?

asked 27 Sep '10, 17:19

Kiesa's gravatar image

Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%

I would also love to hear the answers to this one. My daughter also cries every time she sees the Dr. Last time (she was 23 months), she accompanied me for my apt. (so no needles, or exam for her) and I made sure to bring her favorite book and we let her bring a toy from the waiting room to the exam room. She managed to hold herself together a little longer but started crying not too long after the Dr. came in.

(27 Sep '10, 19:15) Tammy ♦♦

My son initially did not like going to my midwife appts. He was 15 months. He was really wary of different places and people at the time and quite protective of me. Is it possible your daughter is similar. Over my pregnancy he got more comfortable with my midwife. I would often give him a snack to eat during the appointment to keep him distracted.

(27 Sep '10, 19:48) K D

@KD I suspect my daughter is similar. A snack is a really good idea.

(27 Sep '10, 21:29) Tammy ♦♦

I hate to say this, because I know how much of a pain in the butt this is, but what worked for me was switching Doctors. After my two son's were born and we moved to a larger house, we switch doctors to a place affiliated with Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. It's a decent sized clinic called Kids First, and they seem to have a totally different approach with children. I've never had a better experience. If you consider it, the only thing I can suggest is talking to friends and family about doctors they use and their horror stories or lack there of, it might help.


answered 27 Sep '10, 22:01

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Jeff 2
accept rate: 35%

We also go to a CHOP.They actually changed names to something that's much harder to remember. Which one do you go to? I've been to two -- Chestnut Hill and Flourtown -- and found huge variation in the quality between the two. Flourtown is much better. I wouldn't go back to Chestnut Hill.

The only way to find a good doctor is to ask friends and family.

(28 Sep '10, 13:37) Anne

I did wonder if he would need a complete change of scene to forget. However, I actually like his current doctor quite a bit and we don't have many other pediatrician practices in town. Maybe I'll see how it goes when he's 2 and think about it then if he's still screaming before the shots.

(28 Sep '10, 13:57) Kiesa ♦

I think that unless you can switch Doctors like Jeff suggests, you're probably going to have to just hope that he forgets all about it in the intervening 6 months.

If having his favorite toy and a treat arn't helping to distract him in any significant way, you're probably out of luck when it comes to distractions. But, 6 months is a long long time in toddler time, both of my younger ones screamed fit to wake the dead at their 18 month appointments (and my older 2 probably did too, but that really was a long long time ago, and I just don't remember!) and did significantly better at their 2 year old check ups, they really only cried while getting their shots.

Keep taking his Doggie and a brownie, the bigger he gets (hopefully) the more they'll help. When Hope got her H1N1 immunization at 2 1/2 she took her doll who the Nurse gave the shot to first. She was so busy comforting Dolly, she barely noticed getting her shot. Of course then she started to cry in sympathy when her little brother got his, but I'll take all the small victories I can get.

Good luck.


answered 28 Sep '10, 03:05

Neen's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

In two years time he will be about 3.5 years. In my experience at that age kids are able to understand a lot more about what is going to happen and you can explain that it may hurt or be uncomfortable in advance. They are also really interested in new and different things and people. When my son was 3 we had to take him to for an immunisation jab. He hadn't had one since he was 15 months, he had seen a doctor but only when he was sick. Before we went I explained what would happen and we played with his Doctor's set pretending to do the things that might happen at the Doctor's. I also said that we would have a treat afterwards. He told me it wouldn't hurt as he was happy and he was perfectly fine with it.

My 18 month also had an immunisation at the same time and she was not as compliant so I am not sure how you help a 1 year old but the above worked for a three year old.

We have had a similar experience with haircuts which while in our mind are quite different my suspicion with our son is that he saw it as the same thing. When he was younger we had to hold him still so his hair could be cut because he thought it was hurting him but now he is really happy to sit there nicely and ask the hairdresser question about everything she is doing and he can see.


answered 27 Sep '10, 19:41

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accept rate: 13%

edited 28 Sep '10, 05:32

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Asked: 27 Sep '10, 17:19

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Last updated: 28 Sep '10, 05:32