Tetanus Prevention in Children: Causes of Spread, Symptoms, Injection Doses & Treatment

Cheena M Gujral
3 to 7 years

Created by Cheena M Gujral
Updated on Oct 01, 2020

Tetanus Prevention in Children Causes of Spread Symptoms Injection Doses Treatment
Reviewed by Expert panel

One of the most common childhood memories is tetanus vaccine injection, whenever we had a fall while playing. This explains how fear of tetanus infection is every parent’s concern from old times. Tetanus is infection or disease where supporting and managing complications is the prime solution. It is more common in children who are prone to having injuries while play and participating activities. Mere precautions, vaccinations and first aid can help controlling the disease.

So being aware and alert is the best remedy a mom can have in tetanus disease. Read to know how tetanus infection spreads, signs and symptoms, how much doses required & treatment remedies to prevent our children. 

What is Tetanus (Lockjaw)?

Tetanus is an infection or disease caused by bacteria. The spores of which are everywhere in environment from soil, manure, dust to a filthy floor. These spores when enter human body via any injury, open cut or wound, turns into bacteria and develop tetanus infection. Also Read: Govt launched Pentavalent(5-in-1) vaccine.

Know How Tetanus Spreads in Children?

The spores of bacteria can break skin through wounds and develop into vulnerable bacteria. Tetanus infection causes because of following reasons...

  1. Wounds contaminated with dirt, faeces or spit spreads tetanus spores.
  2. Injury caused by any sharp object which punctures the skin.
  3. Burns or dead tissue injuries.
  4. Surgical procedures infections in kids.
  5. Use of Contaminated objects like nail clippers, scissors etc.
  6. Tetanus could be in low immunity kids


Tetanus vaccine is different from other vaccine prevented diseases. It doesn't spread from person to person, it is acquired with unsafe injuries and occurs often in warmer climates.


Tetanus Signs & Symptoms in Kids?

Tetanus is commonly known as Lockjaw disease as it tightens the mouth and jaw muscles. The bacteria affects the nervous system so major set back is on muscles.Signs of the infection are:

  1. Stiffness in jaw and difficulty in opening mouth, eating and drinking.
  2. Stomach convulsions.
  3. Painful muscles over neck and body.
  4. Trouble in swallowing
  5. Headache and increased blood pressure or heart rate.
  6. Fever can also be a sign in few cases.


How Tetanus Can be Treated?

Tetanus is more of a preventable disease than actually treating it. There are vaccinations readily available to prevent the spread amongst kids and even adults. Treatment for tetanus depends majorly on the age, health and severity of symptoms in a child.

  1. Series of tetanus shots(Antitoxin injections) : They are generally 5DTaP shots which only dissolves the toxins and help controlling the spread
  2. Sedatives or pain reliever can be opted as per medical opinions


How is Tetanus Infection Prevented?

When ever your child gets a wound from School or at home, try to adopt the following measures as first aid.

  1. Clean the wound and cover it with bandage.
  2. Try to control the bleeding from injury.
  3. Use and apply antiseptic cream as an precautionary treatment.
  4. Anti toxin shots shall be given, if doctor advice.


Tetanus vaccine is considered very important in India's child development and welfare plan. There is a DPT vaccine, which covers two other diseases along with tetanus.

  1. D: Diphtheria ( Throat infections)
  2. P: Pertussis ( Whooping cough)
  3. T: Tetanus


Prescribed Tetanus Doses  

It is administered in 5-6 shots, given in arm or thigh of the child. The first 3 shots are primary and the next 3 are booster doses. It is suggested to have 4year gap between two of them.

  1. 1st Dose at 2 months of age
  2. 2nd Dose at 4 months
  3. 3rd Dose at 6 months
  4. 4th Dose at 15-18 months of age
  5. 5th Dose at 4-6 years of age
  6. 6th Dose at 9-15 years of age (This has been recently included)


NOTE: There is also a tetanus booster dose to be administered every 10 years...


6 in 1 Vaccination Awareness

Vaccination Awareness is an education initiative by GSK.

Vaccination plays an important role for each child’s health and wellbeing. Combination Vaccination - Did you know that there is a way to get your child protected from upto 6 diseases in a single shot? Yes, it’s true. Combination Vaccination means combining protection for multiple diseases in a single shot!

This means fewer pricks, less pain, fewer visits to the Pediatrician, fewer delays, while making sure your child gets the same protection as they would with separate vaccines. It ensures better vaccine coverage and schedule completed on time.

The 6 diseases that Combination Vaccination provides protection against are Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hib, Hepatitis B and Polio.

The vaccination is available in several options which cover 3 to 6 of these diseases with just single injection. Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is a contagious respiratory disease that could be serious in infants and could lead to hospitalization. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that could block airways and could lead to difficulty in breathing. Besides Diphtheria and Pertussis, combination vaccination also provides protection from Tetanus, Hib, Hepatitis B and also Polio. While Polio could lead to paralysis and disability, Hepatitis B is a viral infection affecting the liver. Tetanus could lead to muscle spasms and Hib could cause infections like Pneumonia or brain fever.

So, when your baby is 0-2 months old, consult your Pediatrician to know more about protection from 6 diseases with combination vaccination.



A public awareness initiative by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only and does not constitute any medical advice. Please consult your Doctor for more information, any question or concern you may have regarding your condition.

Please consult your physician for the complete list of vaccine preventable diseases and for the complete vaccination schedule for each disease.

The mere appearance of this article on this website/page does not constitute an endorsement by GSK or its affiliates of such website/page or any other articles, images or videos, if any, appearing on this website/page.

CL codes: NP-IN-INH-OGM-200101, DOP Dec 2021

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