Restraining children without trauma

When children need to be restrained for wound repair or other procedures, the experience can be emotionally traumatic for both child and parent. I sometimes find it difficult to immobilize children effectively, without frightening them, on a papoose board. A standard pillowcase provides a quick, easy, inexpensive, and safe alternative.

I have the child sit upright on the exam table, extend her arms a few inches behind her, and slip her arms into the pillowcase. Then I ask her tolie down on her back. This immobilizes the arms on either side of her torso, effectively using the weight of the child's upper body as a restraint.

Lesley Orman Wilkerson, MDAtlanta, Ga.