Childr Health Information

Injections, intramuscular (IM) CHI #1384

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Topic: Tests & Procedures

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about Intramuscular (IM) injections.  Feel free to ask your child’s health care provider to go over any information you do not understand.

What is an Intramuscular (IM) injection and why is it given?

  • An IM injection is a shot that is given into a muscle.
  • A larger amount of medicine can be given when injected into the muscle.
  • Certain medicines must be given into a muscle, such as vaccines and certain antibiotics.
  • Muscle absorbs medication more quickly than if given in the fatty layer of the skin.

Where is an IM injection given?

  • There are many different options of where an IM injection can be given.
    • Most children 3 years and younger will receive IM injection in their thigh muscle. (either left or right leg)
    •  Older or larger children can receive IM injection in their deltoid or shoulder muscles. (left or right)
    •  Also, an IM injection can be given in the gluteus muscle (upper part of their buttocks).

Will this hurt?

  • Most children feel pain from both the insertion of the needle, but also from the injection of the medication.
  • Occasionally a bruise can develop.
  • Soreness in the muscle were the injection was given is also common.  You can give your child Tylenol or Motrin for the discomfort.

Possible Complications:

  • There may be some bleeding, soreness or redness at the site of the injection.
  • Allergic reaction to the medication is possible.
  • Rarely, the site may become infected.  Observe for increased redness, increased pain, swelling, foul smelling drainage.

How do I administer an IM injection?

  • Try to relax before you give this injection; take a deep breath.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Select your site and clean it using the alcohol wipe.
  • Pull the skin a little to the side of where you plan to put the needle.
  • Holding the syringe like a dart, quickly insert the needle at a 90 degree angle to the skin. 
  • Slowly inject the medication.
  • After all the medicine is injected, pull the needle out quickly at the same angle it went in.
  • Apply bandage and gauze as necessary. 

This handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about Intramuscular (IM) injections, please ask your child’s health care provider.

PDF: Injections, intramuscular (IM) CHI #1384

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Preparado: 2011

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Formulated: 2011


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