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Taking the Ouch Out of Shots

Kids get more than 20 vaccinations during their first few years, and all those jabs can be scary. But there are ways to reduce the ouch factor for children of all ages, according to a new review of studies on kids and shots. "The key is to get your child to focus on something other than the needle," says Lindsay Uman, the lead reviewer and a researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Try:

Blowing soap bubbles. Your child's eyes will follow them instead of the syringe. Even better: Let her blow them herself (kids can do it as early as age 3). She'll have to breathe deeply to do so, which automatically relaxes the body.

Working your magic. You don't have to be David Blaine to get your child's attention. We're talking simple stuff like "Peekaboo!" and "Which hand has the red ball?"

Singing or reading together. Hum along to a favorite tune or a soothing lullaby. Or read a book with interesting pictures  -- preferably one that never fails to inspire giggles.

Bringing a video game. A handheld version will get your child punching buttons, staring at a screen, and listening to beeps, which is all good: "The more senses you engage, the better," says Uman.