As an organization of child life specialists, Hearts Connected believes that distraction is a very important tool to help children and adolescents cope with stressful and traumatic experiences in the medical setting. Whether it's visiting the doctor, dentist or another medical setting, distraction is a proven technique to reduce anxiety.
A few tools for distraction that we love include:
Bubbles are another great to engage a younger child during a medical appointment or procedure. While the bubbles themselves can serve as a great distraction, blowing bubbles encourages kids to naturally engage in deep breathing. Research indicates that children who engage in deep breathing during painful experiences, such as shots, typically cope better with the event and experience less pain.
Buzzy is a handheld tool utilized to improve child outcomes related to shots and other procedures utilizing needles. Buzzy utilizes a combination of vibration and cool sensation to decrease the painful sensation. Through multiple clinical trials and research studies, has effectively proven Buzzy to reduce pain and improve child outcomes with painful procedures involving needles.
View-Master...while these are not as sophisticated as today's iPhone and other tech devices, View masters made for an excellent form of distraction. They allow a child to engage in something other than shots or procedure at hand while also serving as a visual distraction. These are also a distraction that is more affordable and can be located at your local stores such as Walmart and Target.
Stress Balls are another great distraction for children and teens of all ages. They are easy to acquire and simple substitutions for the actual ball can really be made by anything a child or teen can squeeze and manipulate such as play-doh, silly putty or a small, squeezable toy. Stress balls are an effective distraction technique especially for the worried child as giving them something to tangibly do, such as squeezing the ball, can help reduce the feels of worry and fear. Stress balls also come in a variety of types, shapes and sizes which can also make them more appealing for distraction.