Letting children play with their equipment?

  1. I just wondered if anyone knows if there is any standard protocol about letting children play with their medical items?

    For the past few years I've been working mostly in private duty taking care of children up to 4 years old who are on ventilators. These children's parents seem to have very firm ideas about letting the kids handle/play with the medical equipment.

    One parent would save the old vent curcuits and neb tubing and make toys out of them for his daughter. He felt that he wanted her to know that these items weren't completely hands-off. He felt these pieces were a part of her and he wanted her to be comfortable with them. She was 2 when i started caring for her and she knew which parts she could play with and which ones she couldn't.

    Another parent didn't want her child to touch any bits of her tubing ever. She was worried that her child would cause harm by fooling around with her vent curcuits.

    Another parent gives the neb kit to her child after the tx is finished so he can examine it/play with it. She lets him play with and examine things such as old vent curcuit tubing, neb kits, neb tubing, the stethoscope.

    I've never heard anything recommended from the medical community either way, but the parents seem to have very firm opinions about this.

    The reason I ask is because my newest patient has parents who disagree about this, and they asked me what I thought. I just told them that I wasn't sure and told them how other parents I had known dealt with it.

    But, it did get me wondering if there is a standard or if it really matters?
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   scribblerpnp
    I think allowing children to explore the old tubing, equipment etc is OK, SO LONG AS THERE IS NO CHOKING HAZARD. Obviously if it is small and they can be easily choked or hurt by it, the child shouldn't have it. There have been many times I've madde "toys" out of medical equipment for my pts. I'm actually giving my peds nursing students as assignment that has them make child-safe and appropriate toys out of commonly-found hospital items.
  4. by   TazziRN
    Take your cues from the child. Is he curious about it? Does she seem bored when details about the equipment are given?

    I think it's great to let kids explore the parts if there is a curiosity about them, and to even take minimal part in the care. I had a 3-yr-old cancer pt with a Hickman line in. When his mom brought him in for lab draws I would give him the syringe of hep flush and he would push it in. It gave him some small bit of control and it made him feel like he was taking part in his own care. I understand the fear of the mom who is afraid her child might break some important part of the equipment, but I also feel that that attitude might worsen things. There is even more likelihood that way of the child exploring when mom and dad aren't around to supervise, and the chances of something breaking then is even higher.

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