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Restraint Use In Children

What are restraints?

Restraints are methods used by trained caregivers to stop or limit your child's movement. Restraints may be used without your consent.

Why does my child need restraints?

Restraints may be needed so caregivers can safely provide immediate and necessary care. Caregivers will try to calm your child before they apply restraints. If your child does not cooperate with caregivers, restraints may be needed so they can examine and treat him. A child who is violent or agitated may need restraints so that he does not harm himself or others. Restraints may also be needed if the child tries to remove lifesaving equipment, such as IVs or breathing tubes.

What types of restraints may be used?

  • Physical restraints are devices that limit your child's movement. They include arm, leg, lap, or vest restraints. Bed sheets may be used to swaddle a younger child. Caregivers may also hold your child's arms, chest, or legs to keep him from moving during certain tests.

  • Chemical restraints are medicines used to quickly sedate your child if he is violent. These will be given as a pill or an injection.

  • Seclusion is placing your child in a room by himself. The room is locked and kept free of items that could cause injury. Caregivers will watch your child at all times when he is in seclusion.

How will caregivers monitor my child while in restraints?

  • Vital signs, such as heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure, will be taken often to make sure they are in normal range.

  • Your child's physical comfort will also be monitored closely. Caregivers will check your child's skin for injury or blood flow problems under the restraints. They will also give him liquids and take him to the bathroom as needed.

  • Your child's behavior will also be monitored. Caregivers will remove physical restraints or allow your child to leave seclusion as soon as he is calm and cooperative.

What are the risks of using restraints?

Your child may become more angry or violent while in restraints or seclusion. He may struggle against physical restraints. This can cause skin wounds or block blood flow. It can also increase your child's heart rate and breathing rate. This can be life-threatening.

Chemical restraints can cause low blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, and slow or shallow breathing. This can affect how much oxygen your child gets. Chemical restraints can also cause drooling, shuffled walk, muscle spasms and stiffness, and tremors.

Care Agreement

Your child has the right to safe care and to be treated with respect when restraints are used. You have the right to help plan your child's care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your child's health condition, how it may be treated, and when restraints may be needed. You can then discuss treatment options with caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to best treat your child.The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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