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Intramuscular Injection (IM)

Intramuscular Injection (IM)

When medicine cannot be given by mouth, it may need to be given to a child by an injection or shot. A child of any age should be allowed to say he doesn't like the shot, and may be told it is OK to cry or say "ouch."

Syringe parts.

Needed Supplies

Have everything in one place.

  • Medicine
  • Syringe
  • Alcohol wipe or alcohol and cotton ball

Drawing Up the Medication

First Wash Your Hands

Roll medication between fingers

1. Roll the bottle back and forth gently between your hands.

 Clean bottle.

2. Clean off the top of the bottle with alcohol.

Take off cover.

3. Take off the needle cover. 

Pull back plunger.

4. Pull back the plunger to put air into syringe. Put in the same amount of air as the amount of medicine you need.

Needle into bottle.

5. Put the needle into the bottle and push all the air in.

Put bottle on top.

Pull back plunger.

6. Leave the needle in the bottle. Turn the syringe and bottle so the bottle is on top. Make sure the tip of the needle is in the medicine. Pull back slowly on the plunger a little past the line that marks the dose amount.

7. Check syringe for air bubbles. If there are air bubbles, tap at them with your finger until they go to the top.

Push plunger.

8. Push the plunger so the air goes out of the needle and the top of the black rubber plunger is right at the line that marks the dose amount.

Remove needle; cover.

9. Take the needle out of the bottle and replace needle cover.

Where to Give the Injection

Images indicate the proper places to give the shot.



Upper arm.

Giving the Injection

1. Wipe the skin with alcohol where you are going to give the shot.

2. Remove the needle cover. Hold the syringe like a dart. Quickly push the needle straight in all the way.

3. Hold the syringe firmly with your hand. With your free hand, pull back on the plunger a little. If you see blood, take the needle out, throw syringe away, and draw up a new dose.

Slowly push plunger down. Pull out needle.

4. If you do not see blood, slowly push the plunger all the way down. Put cotton on the skin next to the needle and quickly pull out the needle. Apply gentle pressure to the site; be careful not to stick yourself.

5. Throw the syringe away in a puncture proof container.


  • Allow your child to squeeze your hand and distract his or her attention with a toy.
  • Ask the nurse to give you tips on holding your child for the injection.
  • Keep all items together in one place.

Caution: Be sure to keep syringes and supplies out of the reach of children.

Last Updated 02/2020

Reviewed by Kyle DiPaola, Clinical Specialist - Pharmacy