Should kids be in charge of their shots?

Topics sometimes converge in the worlds of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Diabetes. Kids needing injections is one of those topics. Parents do not need reminding about how difficult it can be to give injections. Recently my friend Christine Swab wrote a lovely blog for CreakyJoints about the question of kids using needles. With her permission I am reposting the item here and on several diabetes related outlets. Obviously there are differences in how we deal with Insulin verses RA medications. Most of us do not use Lanacane spray, and insulin is usually not stored in the refrigerator immediately before injection. Regardless of the difference the message (with advice from kids) transcends our communities.

First, let me first introduce Christine:

Christine Schwab is one of the most successful television personalities and authors in fashion, beauty and lifestyle. She has been a recurring guest on the most popular network television shows including: Oprah!, NBC Nightly News, CBS-The Early Show, The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Rachel Ray, Inside Edition, CNBC News, Fox Network News, E! Entertainment and Weekend Today. You can read much more about her at this web site.

Christine has been writing for CreakyJoints longer than I have been writing about diabetes issues and her wonderful writing is one of the things that attracted me to blog with CreakyJoints (I am not in her league). I am thrilled she allowed me to repost this item and I hope you will enjoy reading her thoguhts…

Should kids be in charge of their shots? (Plus a ‘self-shot’ tip list made by kids)
Written on September 4, 2015 by Christine Schwab

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 firsthand 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.

To visit Christine’s Kids on Facebook you can go here

You can make a difference in the fight against autoimmune arthritis and related conditions.

A second note, Christine’s Kids offers wonderful and very well respected programs for kids with autoimmune arthritis and related conditions. I hope you check it out. All kids deserve a chance to be kids and as always thank you to the parents of kids who are people with diabetes or people with other autoimmune conditions, You ROCK !!!


Interesting article. What is JA?

Terry, It is Juvenile Arthritis, because of duration and early onset it is often thought ot be the most damaging of the family of Rheumatoid diseases. Here is a terrific fact sheet from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIAMS)which discuses the condition (I hate that word).

thanks for reading it !!



There’s a big difference between RA drugs and insulin. My daughter has RA (early onset at a young age). She currently injects Humira® and takes several oral drugs including prednisone (The Devils Tic-Tac’s). Her RA drugs come from a specialty pharmacy most of the time and are prepackaged dose ready to inject and some of the drugs she has used come in spring loaded devices like a allergy recovery pin. These are not feel good drugs so just using them adds a lot of stress to her life. She graduated from Baylor University and then received her masters from Oklahoma University(OU). She is now 33years old married with 2 children and works fulltime…some days it’s hard for her to even pick up a bottle of water and take a drink…It’s a lot like Diabetes in that she is always worried if tomorrow is going to be a little better or a lot worse…there are not many really feel good days for her but she can still smile.

John: I am sorry to hear about your daughter and I cannot imagine the difficulty of having a child with RA. I can also say that I completely understand your comment about the drugs being very different. I have been a type 1 for 41 years and have had RA for 15. I also take these same drugs.

Insulin and RA drugs are indeed very different, but the fear of needles and injections are not so different. I was fortunate that I developed diabetes a bit later in life (17) than your daughter developed JA. I was also the son of a type 1 so I grew up around needles and injections. However, growing up I was around many very young children with diabetes and often seen them deal with fear of injections.

It is my experience with both insulin and RA drugs, that led me to see the similarity in how children, and indeed people of all ages often face injections. That is why I felt Christine’s article is pertinent to both communities and in fact any community of people who use injections, especially with small children.

Yes, there is a very big difference in the drugs used, but neither community has it all good or all bad. PWD take far more injections, children with JA use longer needles and thicker shots. As a wise person once said the best situation is no injections at all, lets hope we get there sooner than later for all children.



My daughter hated the needles even though she had seen me use them all of her life but after her first child she said Dad nothing bothers me now…

I was 11 months old when I was diagnosed with type 1. As far as I’m concerned I have always taken shots. Mind you, it was “just” insulin shots. I’m fortunate enough not to have RA. I can remember when my parents taught me how to do injections, which involved an orange and some water. My brother and I both learned and it’s a good memory of family time for me. Then, when I started doing my own injections, I was just so fricken proud of myself. I called my grammy and told her, I had my parents watch me like it was some show. It was a good time and my life and I remember it with fondness. Life with injections is difficult for a child, and I think my family did it the right way and it made me feel empowered as a youngster.

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