IM injection (1105)

Key points below

What is an IM injection?

Some medicines need to be given as a shot (injection) in the muscle.  This called an intramuscular or IM shot.  Your child needs this kind of shot. 

What supplies are needed?

How do I give the shot? 

1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
2. Wipe the top of the medicine bottle with alcohol.
3. Take the cover off the needle.
4. Pull air into the syringe equal to the amount of medicine you will give. 
5. Push the needle into the medicine bottle, and then push the air in.
6. Keeping the needle in the bottle, turn the bottle upside down.  Have one hand on the bottle and one on the syringe. 
7. Pull the plunger back to fill the syringe.  Look for any air bubbles. If air bubbles are seen, push the medicine back into the bottle. Then repeat steps #6 and #7.

8. If there are no air bubbles, pull back the plunger to pull the dose of medicine into the syringe.  Important:  Do not tap the syringe to get the bubbles out. This bends the needle. A bent needle can break off in the skin. If the needle bends, throw it away and start over.

9. Wash the area that will get the shot. Use soap and water or alcohol depending on the instructions from your child’s nurse.

10. Put on gloves. 

11. Hold the syringe in the hand that you write with. With the thumb and index finger of the other hand, gently stretch the skin of the injection site.  
12. Hold the syringe like a pencil and push into the skin firmly and quickly. 
13. Give the medicine to your child.
14. Throw the needle away in a sharps box or other container.  Do not put the needle right in your garbage. 
15. Put a Band-Aid® on if your child would like one.
16. Return the medicine to a safe place out of the reach of small children.
17. Write down the time and where you gave the shot (left arm, right arm) so you can pick a different spot for the next shot.

What will my child feel?

A shot in the muscle hurts.  It feels like a sharp pain when the needle goes in.  It is best to tell your child the truth about this.  Instead of saying "This won't hurt," you can say, "It will hurt for just a moment."

Tell your child that the shot is important and that it must be taken.  Give a toy to play with or let your child yell ouch at the count of three.  This might help your child.  Listen to your child's fears but be firm and calm.  Expect that you might feel nervous, but if you act calm it will help your child be calm.  Give your child hugs and praise after the shot.  Hugs will make you both feel better.


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child:
Has an allergic reaction after getting the medicine such as a rash or trouble breathing.  Call 9-1-1 right away if this happens.
Gets hot and red on the site where you gave the shot.
Has been given the wrong dose of medicine.
Has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.