Things you can do on the day
There are some things you could try that may help your child's vaccination appointment go smoothly.
remember to take your personal child health record (PCHR) – in England this is usually known as the "red book"
let the practice or clinic know if someone else is taking your child for vaccinations
dress your baby in clothes that are easy to remove – babies under 12 months have injections in the thigh
dress toddlers and older children in loose or short sleeves – they'll have their injections in the arm
try to stay calm during the vaccination – it's natural to worry but it might make your child anxious and restless
let your child know what's going to happen in simple language – for example, "you may feel a sharp scratch that will go away very fast"
hold your child on your knee during the injection – if you're worried about seeing injections you could ask a nurse or another member of staff to hold them for you
do not rush to get to your appointment – giving yourself plenty of time can help you and your child avoid feeling stressed and anxious
do not be worried about speaking to the nurse or doctor – they can answer any questions you have about vaccination
What to expect after the appointment
Your baby or child may cry for a little while after a vaccination, but they should feel better after a cuddle.
Sometimes the area where the needle goes in can be sore and red for 2 to 3 days. This should go away on its own.
Some children may feel irritable and unwell and some may develop a high temperature (fever).
How to treat a high temperature after vaccination
If your child develops a high temperature:
- make sure they're not wearing too many layers of clothes or blankets
- give them plenty to drink
- give them liquid paracetamol or ibuprofen for children to bring their temperature down
It's recommended that you give your baby liquid paracetamol after the MenB vaccine to reduce the risk of a high temperature. This vaccine is given at 8 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 year old.
Make sure you follow the instructions that come with the medicine. If you're unsure, ask a pharmacist for advice.
Do not give aspirin to children under 16 unless prescribed by a doctor.
Allergic reactions to vaccinations
It's rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction to a vaccination. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.
The person who vaccinates you or your child will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately. With prompt treatment, your child will make a good recovery.
GOV.UK has more information about what to expect after vaccinations.
Non-urgent advice: Speak to a GP or call 111 if:
- you're worried about your child's reaction to a vaccination
Page last reviewed: 20 April 2023
Next review due: 20 April 2026