Should your kids be in charge of their shots?



A good question and one I had never really thought about, just assumed that most parents gave their children the shots necessary for their medications. Why would it cross my mind, I don’t have a JA child, but I do have RA and the first time, as an adult I had to give myself a shot it took me one hour behind a locked bathroom door, my hands shaking, my warning to family to not bother me, I was a nervous mess.


That was over twenty years ago. I have come a long way. First I am an advocate for JA kids and teens with my Facebook page, Christine’s Kids, with the arthritis charity organizations and in DC with our Congressmen. Why? Because I understand this disease, I have been through almost every medicine and side effect since my diagnosis in 1990. I know first hand how relentless, difficult and downright mean it can be to an adult, but for a child? It is just totally unfair, and that’s why I am passionate about JA.


Every kid deserves a childhood.


And as I learned on my long journey, the more you feel in control, the better you feel. The better your attitude, and the easier the journey will be. We may have this disease but we can never let it own us. We must fight all along for as much normality as possible.


And that’s how the question came to be. And two of our Superheroes on Christine’s Kids came to the rescue and gave me an answer.


YES! Kids can have some control by giving themselves their shots.  And after thinking about it I realized it made perfect sense. If giving myself shots made me feel I had some control over my health, of course it would make kids feel the same way.


That’s where Superheroes Hannah Sloan-age 11 and her brother Jake Sloan-age 13 came into the story. I saw a post on their FB page about them giving their own shots. After we corresponded they said they would make up a list of how to give yourself a shot, with photos. They did, I posted it on Christine’s Kids and thousands of kids and parents responded.


Here is their list:

  • Identify best time of day for shots for SELF
  • Keep shot supplies neatly organized and in the same storage area
  • Remove shot from fridge, allow to warm up (approx. 30 minutes) (may need to write down time medication is removed from fridge)
  • Wash hands, gather all supplies needed to administer shot
    (shot, alcohol pads, lanacane spray, Buzzy Bee, Band-Aid and sharps container)
  • Remind self “that this medication helps you to feel better and your body needs it”. Take a deep breath, “I can do it”
  • Clean area (thigh, arm or belly) with alcohol wipes, allow to air dry
  • Spray lanacane on site selected to inject shot
  • Remove needle cap, squeeze skin on selected area, and insert needle. Push medication through slowly until the prescribed medication is finished
  • Pull needle out, dispose immediately in sharps container
  • Place Band-Aid on shot area, if bleeding
  • Be consistent with giving SELF shots!


Was it totally easy and natural for them? Of course not. But they kept at it, just like I did. My hour turned into 45 minutes until it reached 1 minute and not behind a locked bathroom door.


The control is what makes the difference. At first you can push the needle in as slow as you want, you can pick a new spot if one seems too sensitive. Then you gain confidence and shots becomes easier. And for someone who was petrified of needles, I now feel I could give anyone, any age a shot. I choose not too, but the point is I know I can.


Confidence and control will be what your kids and teens are gaining as they learn to administer their own medications.  And just like anything else in life, we all feel better about ourselves if we feel confident and in control.


Yes, this is a gift you can give your JA child. Will everyone want to do it, maybe not, but those who do will have a better understanding of the process and the outcome. Where none of us can have total control of the disease, we can have some control of the hope for the disease and with each new medication they try, there is hope. And bottom line; hope is what keeps us all going.


It’s the engine, control is the caboose.


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