Kedren and Meg Foundation Collaboration

Start Here

We are here to support you…the amazing leadership, staff, and volunteers that are doing the good work!

This brief video sets up the many ways our tools and strategies can make this process easier and better for you, the kids, and the families. Below we break down the opportunities for intervention before, during, and after the vaccine.

Everything we suggest is based on the latest research and best practices in pain and medical anxiety management, and vetted by top experts in the field.

Scroll Down to Complete Your Training

A note before we start: WORDS MATTER

Research clearly demonstrates the power of language to shape the experience of medical procedures. That word choice impacts not only what happens in the moment, but also create and define their expectations and pain experiences in the future. We’ve included simple and practical guides for suggested use of language and phrasing that don’t take any more time, but can transform the experience.

Training short-term volunteers?

Volunteers are so essential to making vaccine clinics work! They are also invaluable resource who can have major impact on the experience of kids, families, and providers. Here a video and a downloadedable quick guide for volunteers who could be working directly with families, and working with comfort kits.

Assembling Comfort Kits

Comfort Kit Assembly Checklist


The comfort kits have all kids need to learn some good coping and pain management skills. It’s got tools and information for kids, teens, babies, and the parents. We’ve included all the materials for all young patient populations in each box to simplify and reduce any need to get the “right” box. Most materials are in English and Spanish. Check out the checklist for what should go in the box, and a brief explanation for why each item is included. This information should be shared with anyone who will interact with kids and families so that everyone is on the same page.

Before the Poke

Greeting & Line Control

People who are greeting and telling people where to go have a wonderful opportunity to express excitement of the Comfort Kits and all the efforts Kedren is making to create a positive experience! They can also help spot and identify kids who may seem extra nervous, and engage with them.


As parents are going through registration, they can be invited to be sure and get a Comfort Kit to help make getting a vaccine more comfortable. Staff can let parents know the child can check out the kit while the guardian completes the paperwork.  It’s an opportunity to express optimism and positive expectations.

Comfort Kit Distribution

As volunteers of staff are available, they can pass out kit while the parent/guardian is completing paperwork.  See our Quick Guide and Volunteer video for ways this can be done to increase impact.

Poke Plan/Game Plan

Key to creating a good experience empowering the child to make choices about what works best for them, and providing opportunities for them to use good coping/pain management strategies. Creating a plan does just that. There are two different versions of this: one for kids and one for teens (both are available in English and Spanish). Each version is different based on parental involvement and what is developmentally appropriate.

Waiting for the Poke

Waiting for the vaccine can often be worse than the poke itself. Reducing wait times as much as possible means less time for kids to get worked up. Keeping anxiety at bay is a major goal in setting the child and family up for success. This is a good time to have the kids be actively doing something (like making a plan, exploring the Comfort Kit, talking with people) and/or distracting themselves with something like watching a video on a phone or tablet (now is NOT the time to restrict screens). Kids who are overwhelmed or overstimulated may benefit from finding a quiet place to be away from the action. 

During The Poke

It’s showtime! Let that prep pay off here. The opportunities to make things easier for kids, families, and providers are everywhere. Check out the Quick Guide for those amazing providers doing the vaccinations. See below for super quick videos and actionable summaries of the pain and anxiety management strategies. You’ve got this!

Check out our Vaccinator Quick Guide for a quick overview of pain management techniques.


Comfort Positioning

The research is clear that holding down childrn for medical procedures is a recipe for medical trauma. Comfort positioning is simple ways trusted adults can hold and comfort a child. Use this guide (found in the Comfort Kits) to choose the ones that allow you to do what you need to do, but allow the child to feel safe and comforted. The video and link below break it down for you.


Let them block pain and anxiety the same way they block out the world when they are hyper focused on that video they love! Changing the focus of attention changes the way the body processes pain and anxiety. Allowing kids to choose what they want to use for distraction gives them a sense of control over the experience. Check the link below and the video to learn more.

Buzzy Bee

The experience of pain happens in the brain. Vibration blocks pain signals from reaching the brain by creating a traffic jam of signals in the nervous system.  Buzzy is a vibrating device that can be held right about the injection site to reduce and prevent discomfort. This video is a great way to explain it to kids and families, and this video tells providers what they need to know.  This page below from our Provider’s Kit gives you a overview.

Shot Blocker

Each Comfort Kit includes a Shotblocker, which is a small U-shaped plastic device with hard nubs on one side. When those nubs are pressed into the skin, it confuses and distracts the nerves on the surface of the skin and impacts how it feels to get the injection. Watch the video to see how it is done.


Slow, deep breathes induces a relaxation response that reduces anxiety and pain.  A good strategy is to be aware of your own breath because intentionally slowing your breathing invites others to do the same. People unconsciously follow other’s breathing. Encourage parents to use their own deep, slow breaths to pace their child’s breathing. This keeps kids on track which helps them feel more in control. Pacing breaths tends to help parents remain calm, too. If it’s okay for the child to remove their mask, you can use the pinwheel in the Comfort Kit to encourage good deep breaths (and also some distraction!).  This video from our Pain Champions Guide can be use to coach good in good breathing techniques!

After the Poke: this is REALLY important!

Creating Positive Memories (and big impact!)

The research is very clear that what happens (and what is said) right after a needle poke has big impact. By focusing on the positive and praising all good coping skills, we create a more positive memory of this encounter and set the stage for future expectations/pain experiences. Use the after vaccine card to have the child report what worked well for them! This short video Framing the Story from our Pain Champions Guide for parents explains more.

You have completed your training!


Looking for more details on everything? Check out our full Provider Toolkit!

Provider Tool Kit