Tips to Support a Child Receiving Stitches

The first set of stitches is in the books for my little guy, Blake.  After I tossed him in a pond our giant lab, Tank leaped right on top of him. His paw hit Blake’s face and punctured his lip. Both of my kids freaked out. I mean full on tears and a hard time breathing. Blake went limp like a ragdoll, puked before we got him in the car, and then fell asleep from exhaustion. He was at a level 10 for anxiety. We had a 2-hour drive to urgent care, so it gave us time to regroup and calm down.

Here is what we did to make the situation go from high anxiety with pain and trauma to a successful procedure.
  1. I stayed calm. I lowered my voice, made good eye contact, and reminded him that this was my job.
  2. I prepared him for what he would experience. I gave him lots of details and cleared up misconceptions.
    I talked about his job of keeping his body still and breathing. I explained that stitches are string bandaids and that the doctor will numb the area so that he wouldn’t feel it.
  3. I validated his emotions and provided reassurance. “You are so scared right now. I will be there to help you.”
  4. Advocacy. This was a big one for me. I advocated for topical numbing cream which the doctor was hesitant on but then agreed. I knew it would decrease the pain from the lidocaine injection.
  5. Comfort hold. There was a papoose board in the trauma room and B asked what it was. Every meme that The iPad Lady has posted went through my head. There was no way they were going to use that. He was able to lay directly on my chest in a position for comfort.
  6. Distraction. I held up my phone so B could watch a movie during the procedure.
  7. Choices. I gave him as many choices as I could.
  8.  ONE VOICE. When he was getting the stitches it was just the doctor and us, no other team members. Everyone was super calm, the doctor would talk to him about what he was doing before he did it.
  9.  Procedural Support. I named things that he was doing great on, slow deep breaths & keeping his body still.
  10.  Bravery Reward. Yes, he got ice cream and chose a small toy for being so brave.

Highlights: The doctor said,” Good idea Mom on the numbing cream.” ❤️

You can continue to help kids process their experiences and feel empowerment when you ask them to share their stories. It could be done through medical play, art, journaling, or verbaling telling you.

 

Related Articles:

Medical Play 

5 Tips to Help Your Child at The Doctor 

How to Pack an Emergency Go Bag

Taking Medical Play to a new level with Parker, Your Augmented Reality Bear

Seedling's Parker the Bear.jpg

We just took medical play to another level with Seedling’s Parker, Your Augmented Reality Bear. Child life specialists use medical play every day to prepare kids for procedures, help them process their experiences and just explore the materials in a non-threatening way.

We have also been adapting our coping techniques with the advancements in technology, by using tablets and virtual reality goggles to distract kids during painful procedures.

Parker is now helping us combine these two modalities together and enhance the therapeutic experience for young patients.

My kids and I had the opportunity to play with Parker and we loved him. Coming from a child life specialist’s perspective, I thought that the app’s games and activities were engaging for young kids (2-8 years old) and that the augmented reality was very unique.

There were only four medical play tools, a stethoscope, spoon, medicine tube and thermometer. I would have loved to have seen more, including a syringe or injection device. I also thought about infection control with the plush teddy bear and felt body outline. I know that many specialists use cloth patient puppets and follow hospital guidelines by using disinfecting wipes, so that could be an option for Parker. It may also be machine washed. The felt body outline could probably be coated with a laminate, to wipe down between uses.

Parker, Your Augmented Reality Bear

More about Parker:

Seedling, the LA-based startup with a mission to reimagine play, has today unveiled Parker: the world’s first augmented reality (AR) teddy bear. Parker comes to life when used with an iPad or iPhone and the accompanying free Parker App, which allows kids to have an immersive experience through which they learn empathy, problem solving and open-ended play skills, all while developing digital literacy. Parker is immediately available exclusively at Apple.com and in Apple stores in select countries.

Parker is a classic teddy bear made extraordinary through the magic of Augmented Reality. Parker the bear is all plush and fluff —no batteries, no cameras, no Wi-Fi. Parker is just like the teddy bears we grew up with; soft, squeezable and perfect for pretend play. Add an iPhone or iPad and use the app to interact with Parker and the world of make believe comes to life.

Parker offers an engaging open-ended experience for children ages three and up. By using the app and your iPad or iPhone to interact with Parker and the enclosed tools, caregiving is transformed into an interactive experience. The more you play with and care for Parker, the more magical your world becomes as Parker’s Happiness FactorTM grows. Surprises and additional play features are revealed, including interactive games to play and puzzles to solve.

Related Posts:

Medical Play

DIY Pre-Op Medical Play

Reimagining The Patient Experience with SpellBound

 

 

 

Meet Rabbit Ray: A Teaching Tool for Hospitalized Children

Rabbit Ray 2

While attending the Child Life Council Conference in Orlando, I had the opportunity to stop by Joytingle’s booth in the exhibit hall and meet Esther, the founder, and inventor of Rabbit Ray.

Esther was volunteering in a children’s hospital in Singapore when she noticed a very common theme with the patients, their fear of needles. She decided to create a teaching tool to help explain medical procedures for kids receiving an IV, vaccination and blood test.

 

I’ll let her explain this fantastic teaching tool:

She has also teamed up with the National University Hospital to create an oncology educational doll.

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Click here to purchase your Rabbit Ray today.

Be sure to follow Joytingle on Facebook and Twitter or contact them by email at Hello@Joytingle.com