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Age Groups and Vaccines — Birth to 2 Years

During the first two years of your baby's life, you will go to the pediatrician's office several times for well-baby visits. At many of these visits, you will have the opportunity to protect your child from a number of potentially severe childhood diseases.

Preparing for vaccines

While it is difficult to watch your child receive shots, there are things you can do to make the experience easier. First, remember that you are protecting your child from a disease or diseases that would be much more painful and longer lasting than a shot. Second, by being prepared for the visit, you will be more comfortable and relaxed; your child will detect this.

To prepare yourself

To prepare your infant

To prepare your toddler

Remember, taking your children to get vaccines is an act of love. You are protecting them from something much worse than the pain of the vaccine.

After the vaccines

When you get home, give your child comfort and realize that your child may be more tired or cranky than usual. He or she may want to be held more and may be sore in the arm or leg where the shot was given. You can administer a pain reliever as directed by the doctor. If the area where the shot was given is red, tender or swollen, you can use a cool wet cloth on the area. You can also give your child a lukewarm sponge bath if he or she has a fever. Give your child plenty of fluids and be aware that he or she may be less interested in food over the next 24 hours.

Watch your child for signs of a reaction from the vaccine including a rash, prolonged fever, or unusual behaviors. If you have any reason for concern, call the doctor. He or she can tell you what to expect and what to do.

While most side effects are minor, if your child has a severe reaction, you or the child's doctor can file a report to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System or VAERS.

Learn More

"Vaccines and Your Baby" is a video that describes how vaccines work, how they are made and discusses each vaccine that your baby may receive.
Watch the "Vaccines and Your Baby" video produced by the Vaccine Education Center»

Updated: January 2013

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