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Senseez Pillows: Vibration to Relax, Calm & Soothe Little Bodies

senseez logo -smallMy name is Stephanie Mitelman. I am a Mom and I created the Senseez Pillows. The name Senseez means to ease the senses… Let me tell you the story of how Senseez was born…

When my son was 2, he was diagnosed with a special need. One of his difficulties was sitting in one place long enough to eat his meal, read a story, or sit for circle time.

I spoke to an occupational therapist who recommended a vibrating mat to help with this.I bought one for my son, and he instantly loved the sensations!

But one day, I wanted to take him to our local library for story telling, and though the mat would help… it was large, black, heavy, and had to be plugged in. I was also concerned about my son looking different or standing out with this large mat.

So I went on a search to find a small, lightweight, portable pillow that would offer the same sensations that he could take with him. I couldn’t find one!

So Senseez was born!

Senseez are colorful, lightweight, fun shaped vinyl pillows that offer a gentle vibration when they are squeezed or sat on. They operate on batteries and have a small pouch inside that can vibrate to offer sensations to relax, calm or soothe the body. They’re small enough to take anywhere and are made just for little bums!

Painting on a Senseez pillow

Kids that have trouble sitting for meals, stories, car rides, shopping trips, school work, movies, or anything else will be comforted by the vibrations of Senseez. Kids that have trouble falling asleep will enjoy the relaxing sensations.

The original prototypes were sewn in the basement of our home! We made about 25 pillows by hand, and distributed them throughout schools and therapy centers in our area. Since Senseez was created to be taken everywhere and to be used by multiple children, we used a vinyl material, since it is considered to be the most hygienic and easiest to keep clean. The vinyl is also water resistant. We also created a Senseez furry option for children who would like more tactile input.

After we got some feedback, we hired an engineer to perfect the vibrating mechanism we needed. Once that was complete, we had the pillows tested by Canadian standards for lead, small parts and flammability.

We then connected with an importer who handled the production. Our first order was for 600 pillows. Once the word started getting out, we sold out within 9 months!

In April 2013, we were also invited to do a taping on the Dragon’s Den television show. Today, we have 14 different distributors across Canada and the US, and the pillows are now being used across schools, therapy centers and many homes! The feedback we get is so positive, and the ways in which the pillows are being used is so inspiring. Here is an example:

     I wanted to share a positive story regarding your Senseez Pillows. I gave one of the pillows to my client who is part of our deaf blind program. Although she is very fluent in hand over hand sign language as well as Braille, she struggles a lot with expressive communication. We have been working closely with her to initiate requests, preferences, feelings…..communication in general. The pillow was introduced during a session as a sensory aid with vibration. She immediately started hugging the pillow and placing it behind her back ……all while signing the word “happy”.

     While her expressive communication still remains a struggle, she is now on a regular basis asking for the “vibrating pillow”. She has created a sign that meshes together the words vibrate and pillow, which she independently will communicate to others!

     It’s a huge break through!!!!!! It is the first time that she has communicated a want.

Needless to say, we will be needing some more pillows 🙂

Research shows that vibrational therapy has been used for many years in many different forms. Some children require the vibrations to help calm their bodies, while other children just enjoy the way it feels!

We are thrilled that our pillow is helping children, parents, teachers and therapists!

HEALTHFUL HINTS

Tips for working with children who have difficulty sitting in one place for any length of time:

  1. Some children do best with time limits. Let the child know how long they will have to sit for. A start and finish time can help. i.e: sit for 3 minutes to finish snack.
  2. Sometimes using a visual timer can help. Visual timers are available at most special needs stores.
  3. When training a child to sit for a period of time, start small and the build it up. One minute, goes to two, then five etc…
  4. It is okay to use outside reinforcers during this process. Children respond well to rewards, like their favorite treats. You want to build in a reward at the beginning and it won’t be long before long they won’t need it anymore.
  5. It is also okay to use other distractors like TV or iPad in the beginning. We want to calm the child during this hard task. For some children, TV and iPad can help reduce the anxiety of staying one place may cause. After a while, the distraction won’t be needed either.
  6. And you will need to verbally prompt at the beginning. Prompting is giving a gentle reminder about what the child is supposed to be doing, and reinforcing it when they do.
  7. It is always important to reinforce the good behavior (when they do sit in one place), and not only discuss when they don’t.
  8. And lastly, some children enjoy different sensations to help soothe their senses. Vibrations are helpful. Other sensations could be a weighted vest or blanket, or something that offers compression.

Note: Each child is different and you will have to experiment with what works with your child!

5 Phases Hybrid Glass Bottles: A Safe, Healthy Way to Feed Baby

With the arrival of one of life’s most precious gifts, we as parents find ourselves paying a little more attention to the world in which our children will grow. We naturally find ourselves wanting to give them the safest and best of everything. After the birth of our second child my eyes were opened and I became educated about how chemicals in the environment are affecting us, especially our children. I share my story to hopefully make people realize, we need to make some changes.

After years of disappointment from unsuccessful infertility treatments and multiple miscarriages we finally had a viable heartbeat from our baby. But the smiles were short lived when during a routine ultrasound our doctor informed us our baby could possibly have a birth defect. After numerous tests the defect was confirmed but did not appear to be genetic. There was no certainty on the cause but this particular birth defect was on the rise. In the mid 1980’s approximately 1 in 350 babies were born with this birth defect. By the time our baby was born, the numbers had increased to a staggering 1 in 125. I questioned many times what I could have done to prevent this from happening. It wasn’t until a few years later that I had an idea about the possible cause.

In April 2007, I read an article in the Los Angeles Times about plastic baby bottles, and the hormone disrupting effects of BPA and phthalates. These chemicals leach from plastics into our foods and are found in products we use daily. After further research, I discovered studies have shown that even very small doses of these hormone disruptors have been directly linked to early puberty, malformed genitals, infertility, reproductive disorders, diabetes, and cancer. Those most vulnerable are pregnant women and infants. When I read these chemicals were leaching from plastic baby bottles into our babies milk I was mortified and thought there has got to be a way to get parents back to using glass bottles. I found, with the increasing concerns of using plastics, many parents wanted to use glass bottles but feared them breaking. I am an airline pilot. I never thought of myself as an inventor, but I felt the need to help new parents by giving them a better alternative for feeding their babies. Starting from a drawing on a paper napkin and over 4 years of product development I finally launched my hybrid glass baby bottles in December of 2010.

So what exactly is a hybrid glass bottle and how is it different from traditional glass bottles? 5phases bottles are a unique combination of glass and plastic that helps the glass resist shattering, but if shattering occurs, will keep both the broken glass and liquid contained with no mess. The removable and interchangeable glass inserts add convenience and affordability and make an excellent storage solution for pumped milk and formulas. They are also microwavable and freezer safe. This unique design earned us the 2011 JPMA innovationaward at the ABC show.

After everything we had experienced, chemicals and safety were our greatest concern when developing our bottles. 5phases glass bottles were inspected and tested by a third party for known toxic and harmful chemicals. This third party is recognized in the US by the FDA, Canada and in the EU for product safety and quality control. Our bottles passed rigorous infant safety and chemical testing.

People are becoming aware of the hazards of certain plastics. Studies have shown throughout its lifecycle, plastics can continually leach chemicals. Of most concern are plastics labeled #3 polyvinyl chloride, which contain phthalates, #6 polystyrene and #7 polycarbonates which contain BPA. However, there are still concerns associated with ANY plastics leaching chemicals when in contact with food, even BPA free plastics. Experts agree, the better alternative for baby is glass.

So why not just breast feed? I am a true advocate of breast feeding and there is nothing better or more natural than “mom “, but certain circumstances can prevent a mother from breastfeeding. Both of my children had protein allergies and the only solution was a prescription formula called Neocate. Our bottles simply provide a better alternative for moms who are unable to breastfeed and want to use glass.

There is a definite movement towards green living. We live in a world filled with chemicals, and in many instances avoidance proves to be impossible. For this reason we owe it to ourselves, and to our children, to minimize exposure to toxins whenever possible. My dream is one day, we as consumers will demand our products be safe without having to read the fine print on labels. Knowledge is power and with knowledge we can make a difference.

HEALTHFUL HINTS

Helpful Bottle Feeding Hints:

  • Disassemble and sterilize new bottles by boiling for 5 minutes prior to use
  • Avoid overheating and test temperature in bottle before feeding
  • Keep baby propped up while feeding
  • Avoid putting child to bed with a bottle; tooth decay may occur with prolong liquid contact
  • Replace nipples regularly for normal wear and tear
  • Bottle feed baby under adult supervision only
  • Always transport glass bottles (and 5phases glass inserts) inside a protective sleeve to help prevent breakage

Note: Studies have shown heating breast milk and formula in microwaves may destroy important nutrients

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Editor’s Note: We first showcased the 5 Phases Hybrid Glass Bottles on Pediatric Safety in February 2012.  Since then these wonderful innovative bottles have won numerous awards including the 2014 American Baby Best Bottle Picks and the 2015 New York Family Magazine Best Bottle Picks.  Our congratulations go out to the 5 Phases folks for 4.5 years of keeping babies healthy and safe. 

Frederick the Paramedic: Helping Your Child Feel Safe with EMS

Frederick the Paramedic Cover 2My wife Nicole and I have over 25 years of combined experience as paramedics, and we are now co-authors of the new children’s book Frederick the Paramedic.  Through the years, we have seen an increase in pediatric 911 emergency calls, and they all have one thing in common – the patient may be more scared of us that what is actually ailing them.  This can lead to several negative factors, such as increasing their anxiety level, which may lead to worsening their condition.  Typically, a child’s point of reference regarding medical care is that they are going to receive a shot or some other uncomfortable procedure.  This series is designed to alleviate some of those fears by putting them in control, and even prevent an incident from happening.

After the birth of our daughter Sophia in 2013, and many picture books later, we noticed that there are plenty of story books about safety, but almost none about what happens if you do get hurt.  We’ve also seen that much of the children’s literature regarding EMS is in the form of a pamphlet or flyer, which has no identifiable characters, and is easily tossed away.  Also, we noticed that the characters are often fantasized, which does not provide a true representation of what really happens – this is why the stethoscopes in our book don’t talk!  We want to provide as close to a real situation as possible, but in a fun cartoon form, so that there are no false expectations.  This is how Frederick the Paramedic came to be.

In our first book, we designed Frederick the Paramedic to promote safety, injury prevention, memory recall, decision making, and EMS awareness.  The reader will partner up with Frederick and go through a day in the life of a paramedic.  Together they will check out their ambulance, get dispatched to a call, arrive on scene, assess and treat their patient, then transport him to the hospital and give a report to the doctor.

Based on actual calls we have responded to, national paramedic protocols and real data from the leaders in childhood safety, we created the first story about 12 year old Tommie.  Tommie goes skateboarding with no safety gear, and sustains an injury to his arm.  When Frederick and your child arrive on scene, they are greeted by the police and fire departments, who give a brief report to Frederick about the scene and what happened.  Frederick assists his partner in assessing and treating Tommie’s injuries.  They then transport Tommie to the Emergency Room, where he is greeted by a Dr. who takes an x-ray.  Your reader is guided by Frederick to give a report to the Dr. about their findings and treatments.  Then Frederick recaps with the reader about the dangers of not wearing safety gear while skateboarding

By choosing common childhood activities, Frederick the Paramedic relates to what kids enjoy doing on a daily basis.  Some of these activities may have potential for injury.  Preventing injuries in the first place is one of the main goals of the book.  But when they do happen, and 911 is called, your reader will understand that we are there to help.  They will understand that we may need to touch their arm to make it feel better, and we aren’t there to make them feel worse.

Fred pictureThe great part about this concept is how dynamic it is.  There can be a Frederick the Paramedic book about anything relating to childhood injury, sickness, or even witnessing a loved one being treated by a paramedic.  That is where we are planning to go with this.  Tackling issues such as food allergies and asthma, to grandparents with chest pains or signs of a stroke.  In today’s economy, grandparents are watching grandchildren more and more.  By educating the child to look for signs of a stroke and calling 911 early, can literally be a difference of life or death, as well as taking the child out of harms way.

In the couple of months that Frederick the Paramedic has been available, we have received emails from people stating how the book has helped their child.  One such example was from a school in Vermont where a 1st grader was taken by ambulance.  The rest of the class was very upset and scared for their friend.  Frederick was donated to their school library about a month after the incident, and the librarian was very excited to have a relatable book that she could read to the children.  She realized that she had no other material that could explain what was happing until then.

A little biased here, but my 3 year old nephew was going with my sister to a Dr. appointment, and asked if he would see Tommie there.  It took my sister a minute to recall that it was Tommie from the book!  But we have received several emails and comments about how kids have been recalling the story at times where they may see a hospital, or an ambulance.  One mother stated her son asked if Frederick was on that ambulance.  The fears that have been instilled in children at such a young age regarding medical establishments are breaking down.

We hope you enjoy a copy with your little ones, and hope they never need an ambulance, but let them be prepared if they do!

HEATLHFUL HINTS

​If you ever think you need to call 911, call!

  • Everyone has a different idea on what an emergency is. Calling 911 is a scary time for anyone. Paramedics will assess the situation and provide the best treatments possible, while trying to ease the anxieties that go along with the patients emergency.
  • Teaching your children as early as possible can to call 911 is an important skill for them to learn. In a situation where a caregiver were to have an emergency, it may save a life as well as their own.

KidFit Pillow – A New Innovation for Better Child Sleep

Having practiced chiropractic for nearly 20 years, I frequently get asked the question, “What makes a good pillow?” There are many qualities that make a pillow a good pillow, but just as importantly, we need to ask, “What type of pillow is the best for me?” Although there is not one pillow that satisfies the needs and comfort of everyone, a good pillow, for most, is one that provides the ideal amount of support, together with the correct fit/size for that individual. This makes for a pillow that is not only comfortable but will also provide the healthy benefits of good cervical support and a restful night’s sleep, which translates into many other benefits, both mental and physical.

KidFit-child-friendly-pillowsIt was really years after both my children were born – well into their pillow using days –  that I noticed one night how awkward my daughter’s head and neck were positioned on her pillow and how scrunched her shoulder was while sleeping on her side on a flat ‘leftover’ pillow. I must have watched her sleeping for 30 minutes. I asked myself, ‘Why have I not investigated into a good sleeping pillow for my children?’ So, I did!

Using as my guide the same principles of support and fit I had preached to my patients, I quickly realized that these principles were only vaguely applied to pillows for children. In fact, some ‘sleeping’ pillows were more cute than appropriate for sleeping. The selling phrases of ‘proper support’ and ‘made for kids’ can be seen on many of the products, but what I found were just poorly thought-out smaller versions of adult-sized pillows, and cheaply made, I might add.

I decided that I could design a better pillow than all of these, and KidFit Pillow was born. It took a few years of designing, redesigning, and testing before we launched the first version of our pillow, but it was well received and quickly won a ‘Parent Tested Parent Approved’ Award.

When we designed KidFit Pillow, it had to meet our checklist of requirements:  it needed to have the correct amount of support, it needed to be size appropriate for the growing child, and it needed to be comfortable. In addition, it had to be kid friendly, meaning that it had to be washable and hypoallergenic.

We started with a quality memory foam core for support, and designed it in a way that would account for all the unpredictable ways children often sleep on pillows. We also perforated it with different sized holes to achieve different zones of density which further allowed for the proper support of the head and neck. KidFit-memory-foam-core-cropThen we wrapped the memory foam core with a removable, washable down-like microfiber cover for comfort. Finally, using the statistics of the average size and shoulder widths of the North American boys and girls, we developed three different sized pillows for three different age groups.

How important is it to have a good pillow? Extremely! A good pillow can not only impact the quality of sleep, but also how healthfully children rest and recharge. Aside from the benefits of correctly supporting the head and neck, proper sleep means better focus and improved learning in kids. Studies suggest that the quantity and quality of sleep have a profound impact on both learning and memory in children. In fact, a lack of adequate sleep affects their mood, emotional stability, motivation, judgment and their perception of events.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

So how do we maximize our children’s physical and brain development with sleep?

  • Maximize both their quantity AND quality of sleep.
  • Children between the ages of 3-12 should be consistently getting a minimum of 10 hours of sleep every night. Studies show that children who are sleep-deprived are more likely to be depressed, to catch colds and flu, and to suffer accidents on the playground.
    • Just 1 hour less of sleep a night causes measurable memory and concentration problems.
  • Avoid watching too much TV, being on the computer, and playing video games for extended periods.
  • Avoid poor food choices (chips, french fries etc.), too much sugar, caffeinated soda etc.
    • Even just one caffeinated drink a day robs a child of half an hour of sleep each night.
  • Avoid overly exhausting children with too many “structured’ activities, which leads to very little down time. Participation in too many after school activities can get kids amped up and tends to push back dinnertime, homework time and ultimately bedtime.
    • Compared to 1981, the average kid has almost 2 hours less of unstructured time each day!
  • Don’t compromise their bed time with late night activities.

Note: KidFit Pillows can be found on Amazon.  Also, check out the KidFit video on YouTube

BreathableBaby Crib Bumpers – For Baby’s Safety AND Comfort

For more than ten years, parenting experts, child product safety organizations, and new parents have been talking about the potential safety hazards of using traditional crib bumpers inside infants’ cribs despite the benefits of preventing head, arm and leg injuries.

We are Dale and Susan Waters, married entrepreneurs from Minnesota who turned fear for our baby’s safety inside her crib into a mission to create something that would not only help protect babies but also provide peace of mind for parents. We invented the Breathable Mesh Crib Bumper; a product designed to reduce the risks of suffocation caused by traditional bumpers, while protecting a baby’s limbs from becoming entrapped in the crib slats.

BreathableBaby is Born

12 years ago, we woke to the sound of our 3-month-old daughter screaming in agony from her crib. Our daughter, Sierra had gotten her legs twisted and wedged between the slats of her crib. Her face was pinned against the mattress.

There were many sleepless nights for us and our daughter – no matter what we tried she kept getting her little arms and legs caught between the crib slats. In addition to the obvious pain of being stuck, we feared she would break an arm or leg, or develop neuropathy. But we refused to use a soft, pillowy crib bumper for fear of suffocation.

Research shows that a baby can snuggle up right against their crib bumper. If the baby’s nose and mouth are too close to the bumper, it can potentially cause dangerous re-breathing of carbon dioxide or suffocation. A baby can also get wedged between crib slats and the mattress, unable to escape and possibly suffocate. Because the safety and potential dangers of crib bumpers has been in the news recently, many parents are unsure about how to keep their babies comfortable and safe.

As parents, we were frustrated and upset to learn there was no practical solution available in the marketplace. As designers and entrepreneurs we decided we had to do something about it and devoted ourselves to developing a safer, “breathable” solution – preferably one that was affordable and easy to use. So, we took a break from the media, marketing and music company we owned, and focused on creating a safer solution for babies.

We researched and sourced fabrics, designed and engineered prototypes, held focus groups with mothers and sought extensive third party safety evaluations by a world-leader in safety consultation before finally introducing a safer, smarter mesh crib bumper to the market three years later in 2002.

What makes BreathableBaby mesh crib bumpers so much safer is our Air Channel Technology™ (A.C.T.) designed to prevent suffocation. A.C.T. maintains air access should a baby’s mouth and nose press up against the fabric. When the BreathableBaby fabric is compressed it is virtually impossible to form an airtight seal. In fact BreathableBaby has “fabric cards” available so that parents can experience the A.C.T. safety feature for themselves — just send in a request along with your address information to customercare@BreathableBaby.com and we’ll send you one free of charge.

Since its launch, we’re proud to say that the BreathableBaby™ brand has forged a new category in “breathable” bedding, and is embraced by parents worldwide. Our products have won numerous awards including The Child Safety House Calls Award of Excellence, and National Parenting Center Seal of Approval for innovation, functionality, design and contribution to creating a safer, healthier crib environment.

It’s imperative that parents are aware of the potential dangers that may be part of a baby’s sleep environment. New information is available all the time, so we urge all expectant parents – first time or otherwise – to seek relevant news, alerts, studies and guidelines from news and safety organizations such as the ones listed in our Healthful Hints below.

Wishing you and your little one sweet dreams.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

Six Steps to a Safe Sleep Environment For Your Baby

  1. Crib Mattress Should be Firm. A soft mattress may increase suffocation risks. Select a firm mattress that fits the crib tightly and a fitted sheet. You should have a fitted not be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib side. Before purchasing a crib, visit www.cpsc.gov to make sure the crib you selected has not been recalled.
  2. No Blankets for Baby. Do not place anything in baby’s crib that could be a suffocation hazard, including blankets. If you’re worried about keeping your baby warm, a better solution is an infant sleeper or wearable blanket that zips around your baby and can’t ride up over her face.
  3. Breathable Mesh Crib Bumpers. Crib bumpers that are plush, pillowy, and made of non-breathable fabric can increase the risk of suffocation. A safer crib bumper option is one that is mesh or breathable and allows for air flow – even when pressed against a baby’s mouth.
  4. De-Clutter the Crib. For most parents, all those cute stuffed animals and soft blankets might seem a natural fit for the crib, but unfortunately they all pose suffocation risks. Toys and stuffed animals are best saved for interactive play time.
  5. A bottle. Parents of older infants who have started holding their own bottles may be tempted to slip a bottle into the crib in case their baby wakes at night. But even a bottle can pose a suffocation risk. Plus, babies who fall asleep with a bottle in their mouths are prone to tooth decay from the milk sugars that sit on their teeth all night.
  6. Pacifiers. Some studies have shown that giving your baby a clean, dry pacifier reduces SIDS rates.

Resources For More Information On Safe Sleep and Crib Safety

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Editor’s Note:  So often with health and safety issues we have to make trade-offs between one risk and another: take a medicine to address a disease, but deal with the side-effects; exercise for health benefits but risk injuries. In the case of babies and cribs, parents have long had to make a trade-off between keeping babies safe from suffocation due to crib bumpers and protecting them from entanglement and injury in the crib slats. BreathableBaby mesh bumpers help parents address both these issues with peace of  mind. We first ran this BreathableBaby post in 2011 and the company has continued to thrive, with additional products and awards to their credit. 

Buzzy – Because Kids Need Shots That Don’t Hurt

Buzzy eases the painAs a pediatrician, I strongly support vaccination. I never thought shots were a big deal; parents and staff even chuckle sometimes when a kid is freaking out about shots. You know, ‘deal with it’. I have taken care of children who died from vaccine-preventable diseases, and I used to think that any delay in shots endangers all society. Then I had my own kids, and witnessed firsthand that while vaccines don’t hurt children, shots do. Like most of the 22% of adults who fear needles, my son Max developed a phobia after a horrible shot experience at age 4. This fear affected him every time he had to go to the doctor. I gradually realized that if I didn’t act he could go through adulthood avoiding medical care.

It makes sense that being held down and subjected to more than five shots at a time could have a lifelong impact on complying with health care. When I tried to use numbing creams, one nurse said “that stuff doesn’t work, they need to get used to it”, and gave the shot outside the numb zone! I got mad at the system and myself.  If I couldn’t protect my child and I’m part of the system, what parent could? I wanted to come up with something that worked instantly that parents and patients with established needle fear could bring and use even if the healthcare system wasn’t interested.

I knew that the body could stop pain naturally using something called “gate theory”. If you bang your knee and rub it the pain stops, if you smash your finger and shake it, it helps the pain, or if you burn your finger and stick it under cold running water it quits hurting. I thought of cuffs of cold water, all sorts of messy stuff. Driving home from the hospital one day it occurred to me that vibration would block pain, but it wasn’t until my husband suggested frozen peas UNDER the vibration that it really made my kids’ hands numb to sharp pokes. And Buzzy was conceived.

Buzzy® uses natural pain relief by confusing your body’s own nerves and distracting attention away from the poke, thereby dulling or eliminating sharp pain. Over the past 5 years my children helped test, build, and prototype Buzzy until we had a device that worked. They smashed cell phones, helped me use electric tape and elastic bands, and have served as my first and best advisors. We started with a hand held massager and frozen peas, and finally got to a cute bee with frozen wings.

From a scientific standpoint, I didn’t want to put it out there unless I knew it worked for other people as well as my kids. The Mayday Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to the reduction of pain and suffering, sponsored Georgia State to do a research study in adult volunteers getting IVs inserted.  Buzzy significantly decreased pain, and was more effective the more anxiety people already had. A trial in children needing IV starts in the emergency department also showed significantly decreased pain by child and parent report, and even increased IV success threefold. On the basis of this, we got a $1M grant from the National Institutes of Health to study whether Buzzy reduces the pain of immunizations, and hopefully can avoid the development of needle phobia.

How important is this?? Although needle pain from a shot may not seem like a big deal, needle sticks are the most common and most feared cause of medical pain in the world. Blood donation, preventative health care, and diagnosing serious illnesses like cancer are all impacted by fearing doctors and needles. Conversely, awareness and use of available pain control methods for children can result in years of improved health.  Buzzy® is now being used for dentistry, travel immunizations, fertility shots, and finger pricks, splinter removal, and flu injections!

We’ve heard from parents who had considered stopping more effective injected or IV treatments due to needle fear who are now able to give their kids the best treatment due to Buzzy. We’ve even heard from kids… stories and letters that remind us that Needle Pain Matters…and because of that, so does Buzzy.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

Before a shot:

My area of research is pain control, so I hear a lot of stories about drama at the doctor’s. For young children, pain is punishment and scary, so addressing fear is an important first step to making shots less of a big deal. Children are less fearful when they know what’s happening and feel in control. Sadly, there are no global answers, but there are some general tricks of the trade you can try.

  • When asked “am I going to get a shot?” focus on the benefit. “Yes, they have medicine that keeps you healthy.”
  • NEVER promise they won’t get a shot unless you intend to follow through and come back another time if they’re due for one
  • NEVER threaten with a shot if children don’t behave (establishing a needle as punishment or you as untrustworthy will guarantee a bad experience).
  • If the child’s question is, “Is it going to hurt?”, avoid using the words pain or hurt. Instead, use the word “bother”, and answer this way: “Actually, a lot of kids aren’t that bothered by shots. Before you get them, I’ll show you how we will make getting them not a big deal.”
  • If they’ve had a bad experience in the past, say “I found out about some new cool things we can do to make them much more comfortable.”

And now – the shot:

  • First, relieving kids’ distress begins with you. The best combination is warm but firm. No apologizing, empathizing, or letting them “just go to the bathroom real quick.” Instead, use praise, “I know you can do this”, and direct them to pay attention to non-shot related things before they get anxious. “Oh, look, SpongeBob.”
  • Second, the person giving the shots. These are research-proven things that make shots hurt less:
    • Give the least painful shot first
    • Give the shots sitting up in the arm after age 18 months
    • Use a slower push
    • Use a longer needle
    • Use “position of comfort”: facing you on your lap, or with your arm around the child if they are older and receiving shots sitting up. Being held flat is the most vulnerable positing you can be in; much better if 4-6 year olds can straddle your lap facing you and get shots while you hug them.
  • Third, to help overcome established needle-phobia:
    • There are creams (over the counter LMX-4, Ferndale Labs) which can be applied 20 minutes in advance, or prescription EMLA (Astra-Zeneca) which needs at least an hour. Be sure they’re placed correctly, and know that they only numb the surface. Never promise complete pain relief. Instead, try “these will help a LOT!”
    • Studies show that appropriate distraction decreases distress. While the nurse is getting the injections, let a child choose from multiple visual games or tasks to focus elsewhere during the shot. “Do you want me to read to you, or give you things to find?” Be prepared to pick if they’re indecisive. “You know what I think would be good? Let’s do this…”  Bee-Stractors Emergency Entertainment cards can be kept in a purse or glove compartment for situations when you forget to plan ahead.
    • Tasks that include a sensation also help focus attention away from the poke: for example, tell your child to count zigzags as you scratch the edge of a fingernail on their arm. Tell the child to yell “now!” when a fingernail gets to the elbow or wrist. For multiple shots or a seriously anxious child, bring an ice pack or vibrating toy to touch other body parts and have the child name the body part touched by ice. “Knee! Leg! Nose!” Even better, touch them with an ice pop and 5 right answers wins the pop!
    • And speaking of ice packs, studies have shown that putting an ice cube on the site before a shot can decrease the pain. Adding an element of vibration during the poke can help as well, like when a dentist wiggles your lip during Novocaine. This is the breakthrough of Buzzy, but you can achieve the same results with any vibration/solid ice pack combination. For best results, let the child feel the sensations beforehand by scratching the arm under the ice pack/vibration source. “See how cold this is, and see how now you can’t feel so much any more?” Seeing for themselves and agreeing with you helps the child feel in control.

Whatever happens, praise how they did!

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Editor’s Note:  Flu season is upon us – and The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this winter will be another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall throughout much of the nation. So what comes to mind? ..stock up on chicken soup …and warm blankets …and get your flu shot.  And that made us think of Dr. Amy Baxter and her amazing invention: Buzzy.  Because even though we first ran this post in 2011, what she has to say is as true today as it was then.  Shots hurt…and they shouldn’t…and with Buzzy, they don’t have to.  Enjoy!