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Learning About Physical Restraints for Children

How can being restrained help your child?

Health professionals sometimes need to keep a person from moving around or grabbing things. When they need to do this, it can be upsetting to see your child restrained by being tied down.

But it's important to know that doctors use restraints only when people are at risk of harming themselves or others.

Restraints can keep your child from pulling out the intravenous (IV) lines that carry medicine into the body. They can also keep your child from removing medical equipment that's attached to his or her body. This equipment helps the doctor watch for changes in your child's health.

The doctor may use restraints to keep your child from itching or rubbing wounds, or to keep your child from getting out of bed. And restraints may be used if your child becomes upset because of a severe injury or emotional problem.

Your child's doctor or nurse will remove the restraints as soon as it's safe to do so.

What do you need to know about the use of restraints?

While your child is being restrained, the doctor or nurse will:

  • Keep your child as comfortable as possible.
  • Check your child's vital signs (temperature, pulse, breath, and blood pressure).
  • Make sure your child is getting enough to eat and drink.
  • Help your child go to the washroom when needed.
  • Make sure the restraints are not blocking blood flow.

What can you do to help your child?

  • Stay with your child. Children are sometimes upset when they're in the hospital. Your presence can help him or her feel calmer.
  • Don't undo the restraints for any reason. If you think the restraints might be making your child uncomfortable, talk to the doctor or nurse.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.