Confident Care for Kids (CCFK) is here to help create vaccine visits with less stress.

CCFK is a statewide initiative to increase sensory supports for children with disabilities and special health needs to ease their anxiety when getting the COVID-19 vaccine at a community-based pediatric or family care practice in Vermont.

Confident Care for Kids (CCFK) is here to help create vaccine visits with less stress.

CCFK is a statewide initiative to increase sensory supports for children with disabilities and special health needs to ease anxiety when getting the COVID-19 vaccine at a community-based pediatric or family care practice in Vermont. 

CCFK provides:

  • Parents and caregivers with a Vax Visit Prep Kit that includes a free, downloadable social story and suggestions to make-a-plan for your child’s vaccination visit.
  • Pediatric practices with training, materials and calming sensory tools like wand spinners, stress balls, bubble timers and more, including the new Buzzy Bee, a small vibrating bee with blue ice-pack wings that helps to block sharp pain and provides distraction to create a vaccine visit with less stress for your child.
  • Translated materials about CCFK:

Here’s what to do:

  • Make-a-plan with your pediatrician or family doctor to help your child have a less stressful vaccination visit.
  • Ask what calming sensory tools they will have available
  • Ask for a shorter wait time in waiting and exam rooms
  • Talk about the best approach to support your child through the injection
  • Get the Vax Visit Prep Kit that includes video resources, tips on how to prepare and more.
  • Call your pediatrician or family doctor today to ask if they are a participant of CCFK.

You know your child best. Two simple steps to prepare for your child’s COVID-19 vaccination visit include: 

  1. Make-a-Plan with your child’s doctor.
  2. Talk to your child about what to expect before, during, and after the visit to ease their anxiety. Below are helpful tools.

BEFORE THE VISIT

1. Make-a-Plan with your child’s doctor. Contact your doctor’s office to ask: 

  • Are they a participating in CCFK’s trainings about sensory needs?
  • Have they set up a sensory-friendly environment?
  • If so, what changes have they made to their practice that you can expect?
  • Ask which medical and office staff will be involved. 
  • Ask about the length of wait time in the waiting and exam rooms.  
  • Ask about what calming sensory tools they have available and determine in advance if your child can keep it. 
  • Ask if they have Buzzy, a small vibrating bee with blue ice-pack wings that helps to block sharp pain and provides distraction to the injection. 
  • Before you go to the appointment, talk to the practice about  important information regarding any sensory needs your child has, check out the Make-a-plan Intake Questionnaire.
  • Think about the clothing your child will wear for their vaccination – a short sleeve shirt will be easier for administering the vaccine, then a long sleeve that needs to be rolled up or a sweatshirt that may need to be taken off.
  • Bring your child’s favorite comfort item to the appointment. 

 2. Talk to your child about what to expect

Read a social story. Read this social story and personalize when you can. Some kids will do better if you read the story frequently over a period prior to the appointment. Others may do well with it being read a few times in the days leading up. You know your child best.

Watch a video. Some kids may do better watching a short video about getting the vaccine.

Play an online game. Vax Pack Hero is designed for elementary-aged children that features a web-based video game, physical trading cards, and an educational website. 

Learn about germs. The Vaccine Maker Project has lessons for elementary, middle and high school students.

Use an activity book. This vaccine activity book is all about vaccines and includes coloring pages, word scrambles, crosswords and more!

Read books. Dylan’s Big Surprise at the Doctor shares the thought process of a little boy named Dylan who was terribly afraid of going to the doctor to get shots. This book normalizes the fear that most children experience getting a shot so children don’t think their alone and helps understand importance of nurses.

Make a poke plan. The Meg Foundation features SuperMeg, a superhero character who has resources for children and caregivers on how to manage pain and prepare for medical procedures. This resource is interactive, with quick tip videos, games and much more.

DURING THE VISIT

Make accommodations. An accommodation is a change that makes the visit less stressful to your child. If something in the environment is bothersome to your child, ask for an accommodation. Check out these Tips to Minimize Vaccination Stress for Children

Take action to decrease pain and anxiety.

  • Listen to their favorite music with headphones.
  • Breathe! Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Use a visual schedule to see each step and what to expect
  • Make eye contact with a supportive person.
  • Close their eyes and think of a favorite place or activity.
  • Ask if the practice has a Buzzy Bee, a small vibrating bee with blue ice-pack wings that helps to block sharp pain and provides distraction to the injection.
  • Talk to the practitioner about comfort positions

Consider using distractions.

  • Use a calming sensory tool like a rain stick, putty, stress ball, etc.
  • Play “I Spy” or focus on something in the room
  • If the practice has items for rewards start looking at the bin so that your child can select an item when the shot is over

 

AFTER THE VISIT

Plan a reward. In addition to the reward received at the doctor’s office, plan to reward your child with an activity or treat to give them something to look forward to after their successful vaccination. 

Watch for side effects. If your child has the side effects listed below, consider giving them a non-aspirin pain reliever (Tylenol or Ibuprofen) and make them comfortable with a quiet, calming activity or rest. 

  • A sore arm
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Fever/chills

Prepare with foods and liquids. Look over the vaccine fact sheet that you will get at the appointment and stock up on needed foods and liquids.

Prepare for an absence at work if needed. If you need to be home to care for your child, let work know in advance that if your child is not feeling well, you will need to take the day off. Move appointments/meetings to another day ahead of time so that if you need to be out you can be with peace of mind, or arrange for a friend or relative to be “on call” to help you care for your child if you do need to work.

Plan some low-key activities. Plan time just to hang out together doing a calming activity and, if possible, avoid running errands and other high energy activities. 

Track side effects. Think about filling out the V-safe After Vaccination Health Tracker with any side effects. 

 

NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19 and VACCINATIONS? 

Three trusted sources:

During the Spring and Fall of 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, VT Chapter, hosted a number of Conversations about COVID-19 Vaccines for Children. To view these informational recordings about the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.

We know from children and youth that getting a vaccine can be stressful and, in some cases, even traumatic, especially for children who have a disability or special health need.  

Additionally, it can take a lot of time to coax and convince children with high-sensory needs to move forward with the vaccination while in the exam room, interrupting your availability to other patients and staff.

Confident Care for Kids (CCFK) is here to help create vaccine visits with less stress.

CCFK is an initiative to increase sensory supports for children with disabilities and special health needs to ease their anxiety when they are getting their COVID-19 vaccine at a community-based pediatric or family care practice in Vermont. 

We offer a free one-hour, virtual training and supportive materials created by an Occupational Therapist, Child Life Specialist and other medical experts and family members who care for children with a disability or special health need. 

CCFK participant benefits for your practice:

  1. Gain more knowledge about how to create a sensory friendly environment. 
  2. Receive a Sensory Toolkit that includes calming tools like a bubble timer, stress ball and chewy necklace, including the new Buzzy Bee by Pain Care Labs, a small vibrating bee with blue ice-pack wings that helps to block sharp pain and provides distraction to the injection. 
  3.  Important questions to ask families in advance of their visit.
  4. Gas cards for families.
  5. Rewards to provide patients after their successful vaccination.
  6.  

Become a participating member of CCFK and work with families to make-a-plan for their child’s vaccine visit with less stress.

CCFK is modeled after UVM Children’s Hospital’s “Empower” program: a strengths-based model that elicits an effective, individualized, patient and family-centered approach to providing safe and successful healthcare experiences for children and youth with developmental disabilities, delays, and/or sensory sensitivities. 

The tenets of the “Empower” program have been expanded and tailored to support community-based pediatric and family medicine practices. “Confident Care for Kids” is a collaboration of the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council, Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Family Network.

If your practice is interested in creating a sensory-friendly environment for children with disabilities and special health needs to ease their anxiety while getting their COVID-19 vaccine, please watch this 50 minute training video. Once you have completed the training please complete this short survey and email jamie.rainville@vtfn.org with the name of the participating practice and mailing address and a sensory bin will be mailed to you.

Participating practices will receive:

  • One sensory tool kit filled with sensory items,
  • Rewards for children after the vaccine,
  • Tips for creating a sensory friendly environment, and
  • Gas cards for families who need the extra help in getting to the office.

Practices will also receive a decal that distinguishes your practice as being a sensory-friendly vax site.

For questions contact Jamie Rainville Jamie.rainville@vtfn.org

Social Story  To read before the vaccination visit.

Visual Schedule To help your child see each step and what comes next when getting vaccinated.

Make-a-plan Intake Questionnaire Talk to your child’s doctor prior to the visit and make-a-plan for the vaccine appointment.

Tips for vax visits with less stress Ideas for how to use some of the sensory tools, environmental considerations and comfort positions.

Assistive Technology The Vermont Assistive Technology Program has a huge inventory of equipment that can be tried out and borrowed. If your child could benefit from additional support, give the Assistive Technology program a call and find a tryout center near you 800-750-6355.

Congratulations to these participating practices:

  • Addison County Home Health and Hospice-New Haven
  • All Brains Belong VT-Montpelier
  • All Dimensions Primary Care-Rutland
  • Battenkill Valley Health Center-Arlington
  • Biologic Healthcare-Brattleboro
  • Brattleboro Primary Care Pediatrics
  • Building Strong Families Clinic-Burlington
  • Champlain Islands Health Center-S. Hero
  • Cold Hollow Family Practice-Enosburg
  • Community Health Center of Burlington
  • Community Health Pediatrics of Rutland
  • Danville Health Center
  • Essex Pediatrics
  • Evergreen Family Health-Randolph
  • Family Practice Associates-Cambridge
  • Gifford Medical Center OBGYN-Randoph
  • Gifford Pediatrics-Randolph
  • Lakeside Pediatrics-Burlington
  • Lamoille Health Partners-Morrisville
  • Lamoille Health Partners-Stowe
  • Lamoille Health Pediatrics-Morrisville
  • Little Rivers Health Care-Bradford
  • Little Rivers Health Care-East Corinth
  • Little Rivers Health Care-Newbury
  • Little Rivers Health Care-Wells River
  • Marble Valley Health Works-Rutland
  • Mountain Valley Medical Clinic-Springfield
  • Natural Family Health-Salisbury
  • North Country Pediatrics-Newport
  • Ottaquechee Health Center-Woodstock
  • Porter Primary Care-Vergennes
  • Primary Care Pediatrics-Middlebury
  • Richmond Family Medicine
  • Richmond Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
  • Sojourns Community Health Clinic
  • South End Health Center-Burlington
  • South Royalton Health Center
  • St. Albans Primary Care
  • The Health Center-Plainfield
  • Timberlane Pediatrics-Burlington
  • Timberlane Pediatrics-Milton
  • Timberlane Pediatrics-S. Burlington
  • UVM Health Network Central Vermont Medical Center-Family Medicine-Berlin
  • UVM Health Network Central Vermont Medical Center-Integrative Family Medicine-Montpelier
  • UVMMC Family Medicine-Hinesburg
  • UVMMC Family Medicine-Milton
  • UVMMC Primary Care Pediatrics-Burlington
  • UVMMC Primary Care Pediatrics-Williston
  • Upper Valley Pediatrics-Bradford
  • Upper Valley Pediatrics-East Thetford
  • Winooski Family Health
  • Women and Children’s Services of Southern Vermont-Manchester

CCFK is modeled after UVM Children’s Hospital’s “Empower” program: a strengths-based model that elicits an effective, individualized, patient and family-centered approach to providing safe and successful healthcare experiences for children and youth with developmental disabilities, delays, and/or sensory sensitivity.

The tenets of the Empower program have been expanded and tailored to support community-based pediatric and family care practices. Confident Care for Kids is a collaboration of the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, University of Vermont’s Children’s Hospital, Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council, Center on Disability and Community Inclusion, Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Family Network.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001-VTSCDD, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.