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Terri Mauro

Papoose Boards Make Child Restraint ... Easy? Inhumane?

By April 16, 2007

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Has your child ever been strapped down on a Papoose Board for a dental or medical procedure? I'd forgotten all about those tie-down torture devices until Jan B's dental work entry on her blog "Just a Mom, That's More Than Enough" refreshed my painful memories. I think my son only got strapped down once, when the doctor needed multiple tubes of blood to run tests, but what a mixture of marvel (to see my jumpy one incapacitated so neatly) and horror (to imagine how it must have felt to a boy who hated hugs and hold-downs) it was.

It's not like there were many better options for making my boy be still. Maybe the swift tie-down really was less traumatic for him than being laid upon by me and several nurses, as happened at any number of pediatric visits; or sitting on my lap with my limbs wrapped tightly around his, as happened at the dentist; or being stuck with a needle and put to sleep, only to wake up disoriented and groggy and stumble-prone, as happened when he needed an EEG.

And it's not like there weren't times at home, when he was little and wiggly and determined, when a quick-restraint device would have come in awfully darn handy.

But there's just something about the Papoose Board that seems ... unfair, really. Sneaky. A betrayal, and a ruthless display of dominance. I mean, just look at this description from a purveyor of Papoose Boards: "A struggling, frantic child can be completely immobilized in less than 60 seconds on a Papoose Board. Then, while the patient is securely and safely held, the physician can expose any part of the child's body for examination or treatment." Doesn't it sound like something that, in an adult size, Jack Bauer could make good use of? Or maybe the Others on Lost?

What has your experience been with Papoose Boards? Have you found them a useful solution to the problem of stopping a moving child? Or, like Jan B, have you gone to great lengths to avoid having to put your child in one? Share your thoughts in the comments.

April 20, 2007 at 12:57 pm
(1) Chris says:

We have had to use papoose boards in the past for my daughters Dental visits. At the most, we use them twice a year, for no longer than 10 or 15 minutes. But if we didn’t, the dentist could not do what she needs to do. My daughter is diagnosed with Cerebellar Hypoplasia, Microcephaly, and Cerebral Palsy, and at 8 years old, she is stronger than I am. She also has severe behavioral problems, so biting and hitting with her fist when angered gets to be pretty painful for all of us involved. The first time we had to use one, I was very taken back. At 3 or 4 years old, I could tell that she was frightened, and more than angry at being held down. But the alternative, me and 5 nurses holding her was even more traumatic for her. She will willingly donate blood like a trooper, and loves a regular doctors visit, because she thinks it is play. But the dentist, well,that’s a different story . So, I guess until there is a better alternative, we will keep using the papoose boards.

April 20, 2007 at 6:34 pm
(2) Beth says:

My little guy (nearly 3 1/2) can fight and kick like a kangaroo on steroids! LOL We had to use a papoose board while he was in the hospital this winter…to attach EEG leads to his scalp! He has terrible sensory issues around being restrained (holding for play is ok, but he’s had so many medical procedures that he freaks out being restrained) and around things on his head. The EEG team, nurse and myself had to hold him even after the papoose board because he was thrashing and kicking. He managed to dislodge an IV from his hand in the process. I think I cried for 20 minutes afterward. He exhausted himself and passed out from the fighting. I absolutely HATE papoose boards but do appreciate that they sometimes have their usefulness.

April 21, 2007 at 11:15 am
(3) Lisa says:

My daughter is 5 and has autism. It was 100% useful for blood draws and denistry. A perfect example is on my daughters 1st dentist appointment, they did not use a papoose board. It took 2 dentists, 4 nurses and myself to keep her restrained. The dentist did poor work, because of the moving,kicking, crying, and anxiety in my daughter. I believe that her fear probably also stemmed from all these strange people holding and talking to her. My daughter has now developed a phobia of dentists and offices. When she is frightened about anything in her life, she will say “no dentist” repetitively. Also seems that she has a bit of post-traumatic stress syndrome due to the dentist office. What I am trying to say, is that after future visits to a new dentist, who had the papoose board, she was more cooperative and the procedures were done quickly and accurately. I also don’t feel that the doctors, dentists, myself, or their assistants need physical abuse to them, while just trying to do their jobs.
I would like to add that I would never advocate to use one in the home environment.

July 25, 2007 at 3:52 am
(4) Tori says:

i am 17 years old, and when i was about 4 years old i had to have stiches on my forehead. they didnt numb it enough but didnt beleive me when i said it was still hurting. they decided to put me in a papoose board because i couldnt sit still. it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. i now suffer from mild-moderate claustrophobia. im not saying this is always the wrong choice, but i wouldnt wish this upon anyone.

July 27, 2007 at 3:06 pm
(5) Margo/Mom says:

I recall this being used for my daughter at about age 4 while she had stitches. They allowed her a hand out so she could hold mine. My impression then was that it was sort of freeing–she didn’t have to be responsible for “holding still.”

Later, my son went to the ER to remove something he had stuck in his ear. Though he is the braver of the two when it comes to pain–and he was a bit older, he required major assistance. By that time the ER had decided that the papoose boards were not so humane, so he was held by a team of about 4 adults. They gave me the choice of leaving the room–actually urging me out, but I stayed. Despite the heavy handed technique, he would manage to jerk his head everytime the doc nearly got ahold of what he was trying to grab (a pencil erasor). My son gave a good clue–nobody is telling me what is happening. For a kid with a good imagination, have something unknown with tools and instruments going on where you can’t see it can conjure up some pretty terrifying images. What I started to do then was to give him a play-by-play of everything that was happening (suction, tool, looking, etc). This kept his mental images at bay and was really MUCH more helpful

August 21, 2007 at 9:44 pm
(6) Wayne Klayman says:

I am happy to put my full name to this opinion. I have a 12 y/o severely autistic son. He has the strength of two adult men at times. Those times appear at any invasive medical procedure. I have never seen nor heard of this device until yesterday’s dentist appointment. The clinic just acquired a Papoose board and asked if they could try it, as my son could barely be brought in the exam room. For the FIRST TIME, my son got a thorough dental exam, with a cleaning and brushing to boot. This device was a life-saver for all of us – my son included. He usually requires several adult staff holding him down, which usually results in scratches and bruises for all, to say nothing of the trauma on my poor son. And it’s usually all for nothing, as no useful exam is able to be done under such conditions. I think this Papoose board should be in every medical and dental office. When I think of what my son has been put through over the years by “human physical restraint”, as well as the use of General Anesthesia for procedures that could have been done with the Papoose board, I could just cry. As soon as we are able to afford it, I plan to buy one and bring it along for those clinics that may not have one. It is the most helpful invention I have ever seen. The reality is, if you have a child who CANNOT (note: I said CAN not, not WILL not) sit or lay still still for medical or dental procedures, there is no perfect solution. But I will take the temporary discomfort of a restraint device like this over a squad of brawney men holding my son down anyday. I am thankful that I discovered this incredible device before my son got injured in the next “hold down.” For once, my boy can get a real exam, instead of the “quickie” exam we usually settle for. By the way: for those of you worried about “psychological trauma”, after your child sees how less traumatic the Papoose board is compared to the WWF sitting on him. he may almost enjoy it.

November 18, 2007 at 7:58 pm
(7) Dennis Slater says:

I have seen American Indian children in papoose boards while serving as camp ground hosts in Colorado during the summer. I talked to the parents about them. One board was brand new and the other was ancient and had been handled down from generation to generation. The dad did not know how old it was. He said that the boards are wonderful for the kids and the kids (less than 18-24 months I would guess) seem to like them. It allowed the kids to accompany the adults on hikes etc without getting in the way or wandering off etc. The head ‘restraint’ did not wrap closely around the child’s head but prevented the head from coming forward. I found this site when searching for plans for a papoose board I plan to make for my first grandchildren.

December 26, 2007 at 8:00 pm
(8) Rick Crowley says:

How did this restraint mehcanism come to be called a Papoose Board? How is it still acceptable for it to be called a Papoose Board? As a Native American (Chukchansi, Yokut) who as a infant slept in a Cradle Board which is what I believe to be the similarity to the Papoose Board am offended by the idea that this restraint technique be associated with a cultural tool used for swaddling Native American babies. I’m sure this is not what our elders intended it to be used for. I admit the device would serve its purpose well for what it is used for (pediatric purposes). I am offended by the name. Call it what it is…A restraining board. In this current usage it has nothing to do with a Papoose…which by the way is: A papoose (from the Algonquian papoos, meaning “child”) is an English loanword whose present meaning is “an American Indian child” (regardless of tribe). The word came originally from the Narragansett.

The term also sometimes refers to Cradle boards and other child carriers, which were used by Native American Indians and went by many names, but in the United States and the United Kingdom, the term papoose is used to refer to a child carrier, many of which are similar to those used by Indians. Some are simple slings and others are similar to a rucksack; unlike rucksacks, papooses can be worn on either the front or the back.
Thanks for listening.

January 12, 2008 at 6:25 pm
(9) Debbie Hagan says:

The use of these things (call them what they want) are inhumane, cruel and the people who use them for dental care should be jailed, hogtied, whipped, tarred and feathered!

January 12, 2008 at 10:02 pm
(10) Debbie Hagan says:

Research research research before you let anyone do this to your child, if you still feel comfortable with it, my God Bless this child.

January 18, 2008 at 8:47 pm
(11) T O says:

I have had experiences with restraints, as a child, as I had to have many surgeries and other procedures done. I was often restrained manually (hands and feet) during long hospital stays (largely so I would not pull out tubes and that I would hold still during medical procedure that were at sometimes extremely painful). I am autistic (but mildly so), and am fairly strong, especially if I feel someone is going to hurt me. I had stitches in my forehead as a child, and even though I was only crying, I was put in a papoose board before I could fight. I think that papoose boards and restraints are evil, but if a restraint MUST be used, the papoose board is 1000x better than the manual “chains”. Make sure that restraining a child is a LAST RESORT, anyone using it for convenience should be punished.

February 8, 2008 at 5:26 pm
(12) noel says:

I hate that they are called papoose boards, because they are not. Real papoose boards, commonly reffered to as cradle boards, are an indiginous method of child carrying. I am currently making a brown and pink one for my baby girl. They have a completely different purpose than the ones mentioned in this article, they are meant to comfort and swaddle a baby as well as make traveling with a baby easier. The support straight spinal and limb growth. All parents I know who use them have positive things to say about them, and I believe the happily snoozing babies snuggled into them do also. They should call these contraptions of restraint that they use at medical offices what they are, and not distroy the name of something so positive. A doctor put my son in one of those horrible things when he had Respritory Syscidal Virus when he was 5 months old, which totally freaked him out because he wasn’t used to having his head restrained. If I’d known they were going to do that to him, I would have brought a REAL papoose board, which would probably have calmed him down, making the whole procedure easier for all of us.

April 19, 2008 at 11:19 pm
(13) heather says:

My 11 month old son is scheduled for needed dental work this week. one dentist recommends the “papoose” the other recommends general anesthesia. i am not happy with either option, but must choose one. After much soul searching and researh, the idea of having my infant restrained and “drilled” seems to be the better choice than hoping he survives general anesthetic at such young age. Neither option is a good one, but I am in the medical field and have seen adults suffer significant complicantios with anesthesia. Is that really a risk I want to take with MY infant. i will tke my chances with the papoose.

May 5, 2008 at 3:28 am
(14) Kala says:

My oldest son had to get stitches on his head when he was 3 years old. I remember them bringing that thing in there and laying him in it. He was scared to death. I stayed by him the whole time and assured him it would be okay. I tell you, had it not been for the papoose board the doctor would have had a time holding him down. If needed, I would use it again.

May 10, 2008 at 10:48 am
(15) Ali says:

I am a pediatric dental specialist and treat very young (avg age 3 1/2 ) and special children. We do have a papoose but we rarely use it-only for absolute emergencies which again is very rare. I have found that majority of children over 3 years respond well to behavior management techniques. Many who need limited (3-4 teeth) invasive treatment (filling, baby root canal, extractions)do just fine with addition of Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas), good behavior management and local anesthesia. When the treatment needs are greater (many more large cavities, pain, abscess, swelling) I manage the patient with antibiotics and pain meds until I can see them at the hospital where we complete all the treatment at once under general anesthesia.

For the very very young children (under 2)I prefer to do the treatment by the knee:knee technique(http://www.abcd-dental.org/dent.html) . I find this for of restraint assisted with the caregiver is far better than papoose and the experience is not nearly as traumatic if at all if children are under 2 (memory is not fully settling) and so long as treatment is done without inflicting pain (ART technique or good local anesthesia with strong topical).

As for special patients, I find that repetitive exposure over time with the same provider and staff is key to gradual graduation to a coopertive patient.
Sadly, I believe that too many of my colleagues are caught too focused treating teeth as they hurt a child’s psyche. Our most important job a specialist is to protect the child psyche as we do our best to heal their smile.

May 22, 2008 at 3:49 am
(16) Dr. Anne B Sonju Clasen says:

I am a Norwegian dentist nearly finished with my pedodontic speciality training at the university in Oslo. I have long experience in sedation and treatment of children. It is unthinkable to use restraining methods in Scandinavia. Untill recently I was unaware of the existance of pampoose boards. It is very strange to me that there is a law in the US since 1987 against the use of physical restraints in nursing homes, but none against the use of physical restraints when it comes to children. How can resposible human beings advocate this kind of treatment of children? Is this not the worst abuse ever? Please stop this!

July 11, 2008 at 10:27 pm
(17) TOBR505 says:

I hate restraints on children. I have been restrained with arm cuffs, and with stiff mitts (I have had many surgeries, especially on the abdomen), and long term hospital stays).
They would also have a 260 pound man hold me down (must have been some “hold down specialist”), even with all of the restraints, because the doctors were hurting me (doing some extremely painful things), and I was thrashing my head because of the pain, so this 260 pound man would use his weight, so I would lay perfectly still, but I am screaming and crying. The doctor would say that he was going to “help” me hold still. These experiences (this happened many times) were very traumatic. There was another time where five large men held me down so the doctor could put in a catheter. I say that restraints are inhumane, unless they are going to hurt someone else. Children are not going to hurt others, they are just scared of the pain. I think that restraints make the situation tougher on the poor child. We should NEVER EVER restrain a child.

July 14, 2008 at 3:14 pm
(18) Rita M says:

505, your comment made me cry. Why would doctors be so evil to hold a helpless child down, when all the child is, is scared or hurting? Why would a 260 pound man have to lay on a child that is already restrained to the bed. If you were thrashing your head, you must have really been in some pain. Restraining helpless children should be a criminal offense, and should be punishable. Papoose boards should not be used either, because a child is completely helpless, and at the mercy of the doctor. I bet the poster above has had nightmares of his experiences (that could have been classified as torture). I’m sorry that any child should experience such evil. Please, make a law against restraining helpless children.

August 11, 2008 at 3:45 pm
(19) TOBR505 says:

Rita, the restraints were bad enough, but the doctor would have that 260 pound man climb on the bed and lay on me to hold my shoulders and my thrashing head still. His belly was right on my face! I was eight and nine years old when this happened (it happened many times). I would soil the bed and I would sweat heavily. This 260 pound man would lay on me, sometimes for hours. I hate hugs, largely because of this. I am claustrophobic. Yes, I have had many nightmares because of this. However, this 260 pound man and I became buddies toward the end. I’d rather have a child undergo general anesthesia then have to be restrained. I was labeled a “special needs child”, which prompted the doctor to use the restraints mentioned above. I think we should take care of our children (I don’t have any, but if I did) and especially care for the “special needs” children. Let’s not torture them, but help them, isn’t that what doctors and dentists are for?

September 11, 2008 at 7:51 am
(20) mammyme says:

I am stunned and sickened that any individual would comment on a child’s fear and pain as strictly a behavioral issue. People, whether big or little, can become traumatized by events happening around them that they have no control over. When that happens, they may start out with an issue in their head that becomes an issue with their bodies. (It is called response behavior!) So, even if they know they should calm down, their physical response doesn’t comply. But, restraints like described here are NOT recommended by the American Pediatric Association except for cases of extreme urgency! Too many children have suffered fatal consequences. We are a cognizant society that can surely come up with a safer and saner way to treat those in our world who cannot speak for themselves!!!

October 7, 2008 at 12:02 am
(21) TOBR505 says:

Mammyme, I felt compelled to respond to Slade’s post, but I decided to take the high road, and not say anything at all. During that time, I did not have a parent with me in the hospital, to hold my hand during tough times, and to tell me that it was going to be OK. Some of the procedures that the doctors did should have been done under general anesthesia, but they were not, and so I would scream, cry, and thrash (The fact that his belly was on my face helped muffle my screams). I could not help it. These restraints nowadays are not permitted in most cases (I hear horror stories of children dying). This happened in 1993, and 1994. The only consolation is that, this 260 pound man became a father figure to me (since I had no parent with me this entire time, he was about 34), and we were buddies in the hospital for quite some time. Restraints should only be used if the child is going to hurt himself or others, and AS SOON AS that threat is eliminated, so should the restraints. Restraints are often times used for convenience, and not for necessity. At least some of these horror stories are coming out, so people are beginning to know the truth in what happens in hospitals (but not as much as), and group homes. How many children are going to have to die because of negligence? I didn’t die, but I was severely traumatized by these types of situations (I’m a lot better now, though), and I want to make sure that parents pay attention to the treatment that their children are receiving in such institutions, and make sure to report these things. I had no say in what was going to happen (I would beg the 260 pound man not to lay on me), but other people did, and no one said anything, and we as a society need to be better than that.

November 18, 2008 at 3:10 pm
(22) Kevin says:

I have some experience in use of “passive restraints” as a treating dentist. Q: Why use a papoose? A: Safety of the child. Some patients you will not be able to “talk down” and for (most) two yr olds all you are doing is making the appt more prolonged and traumatic. A lot depends on the practitioner’s attitude toward restraints. For example if one sees it as a “torture device” as you referred to it–that is a doctor who probably should not be restraining patients! And by the way, I do allow parents to come back and if they decide to wait outside–we still ask them before restraints are used. In short, restraints can be misused like any other tool. Used properly and appropriately, there are advantages as you have stated regarding “active-restraint” or even more dangerous “drugging them to submission.” Sedation has it’s limits.

January 21, 2009 at 7:31 pm
(23) uncorpbumminc says:

Nothing seems to be easier than seeing someone whom you can help but not helping.
I suggest we start giving it a try. Give love to the ones that need it.
God will appreciate it.

January 30, 2009 at 11:22 am
(24) Huiana says:

I have to say, we use a papoose board for my sons drental care. He is 2.5, 3 foot 6, and 45 lbs, with PDD and sensory disorder. He hurts himself, hurts others, and lacks any form of communication. We’ve been with the same dentist since he was 10 months old and beat his own teeth out on the floor when angry, and have gotten this all worked out as well as we can. He cannot be put under, he has a shortened airway, and he stops breathing under general and sedation, and because of the malformation, has to be trached. As much as I hate the thought of restraining my baby, we do what we have to to ensure his safety and continue his care. You cannot say ” May God bless this Child,” if the parents used a board, because you dont know every situation and every child. My son is the most important thing in my life, hell, he still nurses because he gets inadequate nutrition from his very limited sensory diet, (he only eats hard/crunchy food), I spend hours each day being beaten by him, and taking it with patience, I’ve learned things I never imagined I would, like how to do restraint holds, because he’s trying to hurt himself,So don’t think I don’t love my baby because we have to restrain him at the dentist. It’s just not true.

February 9, 2009 at 10:31 pm
(25) A Girl From Texas says:

I agree with T O. As a kid of about 3, I had the whole “papoose restraint” thing done to me. I will never forget it. For years my mom told me that I dreamed the experience, but my memory didn’t fade. I’m 21 now and am still an absolute wimp when it comes to doctors visits. However, I should be grateful to be alive with a fully-functioning nose. (I ran into a wall with a glass under my two front teeth that broke and sliced my nose open on one side. Before they cleared up the blood, they thought I had cut open my eye and lip too.) The papoose should be a tool for the desperate ONLY.

February 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm
(26) User of board/restraint devices says:

I’ve had to use restraint devices in the medical field on children and adults with cognitive/behavioral difficulties. I always explain first and allow the parent/caregiver to make the decision and participate physically in the care. The only other option is to not receive the medical care or undergo a more dangerous procedure w/anesthesia. The most spunky pt. I’ve experinced so far was a cute little 2.5 yo female with the strength of hercules and the mouth of a sailor. It still took four adults total (2)parents and (2)technologists to perform the test. Needless to say we all had a nice work out that day.

March 12, 2009 at 10:30 pm
(27) Dawud says:

I guess that what I see a papoose board for is vastly different from what they are now. When I was just an infant my family carried me in a papoose carrier. Up until I was 3 years old I was subject to that when we walked long distance. We, as a family, never had a car so no use for a car seat. I still have that carrier sitting right next to my desk here. I use it for either of my children when I walk distance. I took my 5 month old son into the grand canyon in it. If you need a time frame for the use. I was born in 1986.

April 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm
(28) J.C. says:

Dr. Anne
Well – I will restrain my child for 5 minutes rather than inject or give them sedative drugs. That is such a nice quick fix for you….but what if the kids have side effects. The papoose has NO side effects.
I need to get a blood draw from my son every 3 months to monitor his seizure meds. And there is NO way I would add MORE drugs to his already extensive use of seizure meds.

April 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm
(29) Chris (Chrishana Hopkins) says:

Re: Number (24) Huiana–Yay for Huiana-until someone has to stand in the shoes of a parent whose child is already loaded with meds and then is forced to choose between the papoose board, more meds and/or unnecessary (also dangerous) sedation, or the heartwrenching act of watching your child beat themselves into oblivion they may find that choosing the papoose for necessary medical procedures isn’t as terrible a thing as they think, and maybe (we can only hope here)not be so quick to judge us parents who have no alternatives. As I said before, my daughter is stronger than I am, and has broken her own nose on two separate occasions, out of anger or frustration, as she is non-verbal. She is the absolute love of my life..so to think that I wouldn’t have her best interests at heart is absurd and anger inducing…oh and may god bless the close minded and inconsiderate person who would think otherwise and have the ignorance to say so without knowing us or our situations.

May 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm
(30) jen says:

my five year old is stronger then me. We don’t know if he’s bi polar or what but the bottom line is he is very abusive to myself and his 2 year old sister who has a trach. I was wondering if these boards would be good to use on him? I need some type of restraint. Any suggestions? babyfacesylas@yahoo.com

May 30, 2009 at 1:32 am
(31) Paula says:

I have a two year old (25 months to be exact) At our first check up the doctor said he has two cavities that he wants to take care of. They explained that my son will receive some oral medication (syrup) and then they put him in to a special “BLANKET or sleeping bag” >they called it >and then will give him “laughing gas”. It sounded great. Until I had to sign a paper that said I can NOT be present there during treatment and also the “blanket” was called papoose board on the document. Still I trusted them….and signed it. Few days later we went for the procedure… my son went crying already when the nurse tried to take him away from me…I’m a stay at home mom, so he is not used to strangers, plus he is shy by nature.
But the main shock came when they brought him out 35 minutes later. I’ll never forget it and never forgive myself for allowing this….He was screaming, frightened, I did not recognize anything about his behavior. He held on to me like crazy, would not let go and I had hard time even put him to car seat.I hoped it was the medication. But wrong I was …. My son remembers the procedure completely he speaks good enough to describe it. He first said that his belly hurts…but from what? I asked..he said…from the lady holding my hands…hurt bad. And I asked : and what about the doctor did he hurt you in your mouth…and he replied NO!! just DZZZZZZ…he made the sound of drill and pointed to his mouth. SO!! to my shock!! my son took the drilling with ease and no pain, but he could not bear the nurse holding and stripping him!!!! Today is 10th day since the procedure…my son won’t let me even go to a restroom without screaming mommy stay here (and he never did it before), he has nightmares, wakes up screaming at night(never did before), and he won’t let anybody babysit him, even relatives have now problem hug him!
SO for me….no more papoose and if necessary I’ll be there to watch the nurse to strap him and make sure he is comfortable and secure before they start any procedures next time….final words…..I THINK… DON’T SAY NO TO PAPOOSE SAY “NO” TO NOT BEING ABLE TO BE AT THE PROCEDURE….BE THERE FOR YOUR LITTLE ONES….THEY CAN TAKE THE RESTRAINT, BUT THEY CAN’T TAKE THE ABANDONMENT OF A PARENT AT SUCH HORRIBLE TIME AS DENTISTS APPOINTMENT IS. Paula

June 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm
(32) Stephanie says:

Some of these stories are horrible! My heart goes out to all of you on BOTH side of the issue that have been traumatized.

My son, who is now 5, has Down Syndrome and lots of different medical issues. We DO use a restaint board (as opposed to pappoose – same thing more PC). Anyway, while we have never had to use it for dental procedures, we DO use it for things like the ENT getting an eatube out of his ear that was stuck in the canal, or immobilizing him for a CT. Many times, we CAN’T sedate him until we know what is going on with him, as the sedation may mask the problem. However, he seems to like being snuggled into it and, 9 times out of 10 falls asleep when he is in it. I think this is something that should be decided on an individual basis. I know some children with autism, who would LOVE it – others who would be so traumatized they would regress.

June 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm
(33) Amy says:

Just over a week ago my 5y/o needed to go to the ER for stitches in her knee. They first tried a “superman cape” where they tried to pull her arms backwards and fold them into a pillow case. I ripped it off of her and refused to let them do this. I said I’d hold her. I’d rather have the comfort of my body around her than them tying her up. When they could not do the local to numb the area b/c she was totally freaked out by them touching her (because they lie about everything they are doing, so I could not blame her for not trusting them!!!!!) They then threatened the papoose option. I had never heard of this before and asked “what like a straight jacket?” They insisted this was not what was it was like and even had the nerve to tell me that this even calmed children in some cases. I flipped out at that point. I told them absolutely not. If they could not do it with me holding her, then they could just discharge us. Babywearing from infancy to childhood is a NATURAL bonding method for baby and parent. This “papoosing” method is totally an insane misusage of a method that misconstrues what they actually are trying to do to children! It’s inhumane, and disrespectful. It’s one more way that this world tells our children that somehow their feelings do not matter. It tells them they have no common sense, their feelings are always wrong and that we as adults some how know better?

I tell you, if it’s one thing my kids have taught me is how much my own self-worth was robbed of me for my entire upbringing and how much they have to teach me about being respectful of their feelings and honoring my own as well. This “method” that they seem to think is doing everyone a world of good for the sake of medical practices, is robbing children of their very sense of self.

Anyone thinking otherwise is deeply fulling themselves and I pitty their children.

June 3, 2009 at 8:32 am
(34) Helen says:

A couple years ago our daughter was rushed to hospital as she had put her hand through a glass pane. She needed stitches. Two nurses and her father could not hold her down to do the local. They brought out the papoose board and she fought against that but once in it calmed down a little. Dad stayed with her while I was just outside the door with my son. She still talks about how she hated it at first but now understands that we would have been in the emergency room longer had she not been put in it.I think it should be left to the parents to decide if it will work for their child.

June 8, 2009 at 12:22 pm
(35) Dan says:

As an paramedic and a fire service history buff, I’ll give you our take on the Papoose board. The papoose board was created in the early 70′s as a device to be used by medics to restrain a small child who may have sustained a cervical spine injury, such as from an automobile accident. Smaller children are somewhat harder to strap onto a back board with a c collar and head blocks as they are normally frightened by all that may be going on, so the Papoose board was invented to help immobilize a child to prevent any further injury to the spinal cord. It got the name Papoose board because of the likeness of a child being swadled on a Native American cradle board.( Look at a picture of an original Papoose Board)
It appears that it’s use has caught on by other medical profesionals as well for the restraint of small children during medical care, although not quite what the original intent for use was.

August 18, 2009 at 4:25 pm
(36) Crystal says:

I have a 7 yr old who has been on the board but i didnt know. he went to kool smiles, and they dont let parents back there. he would come out with puffy eyes, face red from crying. so i wondered, when he had to have another procedure done at the dentist this time i went back there. they tried to give him a chance to not move and cooperate but he didnt so they brought out the board. that thing looks scary. 4 assistants came in to help put him in the board and he was screaming and yellng, “i cant breathe, its too tight, i will take the chance, please please, no, no, stop, your hurting me, please i’ll take the chance, no, i cant breathe” at the top of his lungs. all 4 assistants were tellin him to calm donw, its ok, then the dentist raised his voice and said “HEY! calm down”..thats when i said stop and took my son out of there. i couldnt believe it after all that pleaing, they did nothing, no sympathy, or compassion; they just wanted to get the job and get him out to get the others in. they didnt try talkin to him or explainin to breath through his nose, nothing.

is that illegal? not the papoose board but the way they do it?

September 7, 2009 at 1:02 pm
(37) RaDonna says:

I am working toward my Masters degree as a Licensed Psychotherapist. My son was tied up for an hour at the dentist. He WAS truly and deeply affected by the experience. He is horrified off all people who look like a dentist, of rubber gloves, enclosed white rooms, etc… It is so sad, this has been going on now for 6 months past the experience. He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from it, an ultimately may become phobic. I would NOT recommend that any child be restrained, if it is absolutely necessary for no more than 15 minutes. A good dentist won’t have to restrain a child. Please seriously consider the psychological injury that the Papoose may cause your kid! Thanks

September 24, 2009 at 2:18 pm
(38) Melissa says:

I was originally reading this because I was looking for something else. However, I couldn’t help feeling frustrated that these devices were referred to as a “papoose”. I’m sure you didn’t mean to offend but you should know that papoose is a white general term for Indian Baby and it really shouldn’t be used in this context.

January 4, 2010 at 2:23 pm
(39) Tami says:

The use of this barbic treatment of children should be outlawed. The so called medical proffessionals, and the parents involved, should be looked at real careful. This is a disgusting treatment, of children, let alone a human being. We would be jailed for trating a animal this way, even prisoners of war are treated more humane. If this is the practice of your doctor or dentist find one that, dosent do this.. dont take the easy way out and make excuses for why you made this ridiclous choice for your child. I know what im talking about. Been there done that! I was that child and have NEVER gotten over it. I would rather my teeth rot in my head than go back to another dentist. Parents… wake up!

February 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm
(40) Debbie A says:

I just got back from an appointment at a pediatric dentist. My 4 year old son who is very well behaved and sat like an angel during the cleaning, checkup and xrays needs a couple of cavities filled and a tooth removed. I was told that the parents have to wait in the waiting room and that the child is to come back alone for the procedure and that a papoose board will be used. For the hour and a half we were there I heard kid after kid screaming and crying. One boy that came out after seeing the dentist (without his mom) was inconsolable.
I am taking my son somewhere else.

February 26, 2010 at 11:02 am
(41) Rebecca Sue says:

I must admit I was shocked by this website. While traveling thru Arizona and New Mexico, I discovered the most beautiful papoose made by Native American Indians that I wish to purchase for my new 24 day old grand-baby. I have 4 adult children and have never had to use a “restraint board” for any procedure. My heart breaks for each of you! It seemed to me that an all naturally made “baby carrier” (leather & wood) is preferable to the paints and formaldehyde (used to set prints on fabrics and known causes of illness and behavioral issue) in many baby products sold to us today. The real papoose is a beautiful work of art that small babies seem to love. I simulates swaddling and provides comfort and security to infants. As for its other uses, I would just like to add 2 simple comments. #1- The health of our children supersedes momentary discomfort! #2 -Never allow any healthcare professional to treat a child without a parent present!

March 24, 2010 at 12:10 am
(42) Amber says:

I know how bad it is I too fought and kicked and eventually lost the fight. I think that the papoose is wrong and now because of that little moment being strapped down I can not stand having kids climb on top of my back when I am laying down and Its sad to say I can not even be hugged for long either. This Friday I have a dentist appointment at 9 am and everytime I go to the dentist I am scared and worried scary thing is I am 19 but still my father and mother both say it has did some damage to me brain wise. It may be safer for a dentist to put kids in a papoose but not how I was put in it i was fighting really bad and I lived in Georgia but i moved to Indiana a year later and as far as I know they do not strap kids in a Papoose.

April 5, 2010 at 9:30 pm
(43) Lydia says:

I personally am not a fan of the papoose board. I actually had one used on me recently (who knew the still used them on 15 year olds)and it was not a nice experience. I Had to have a blood test and several immunisations and was told to lie down. Little did I know i was lying on the papoose when suddenly I was wrapped up and restrained in it!! I tried my best not to struggle but even if I had, theres no way you could get out of the damn thing! I can see why they’re useful but I wouldn’t reccommend it if you have the option.

April 7, 2010 at 11:34 pm
(44) Latiya says:

The papoose has been very effective where it has ben used for my son. It was much less traumatic than three people strapping him down, or using all of our force to help get him still. I actually wish that I had one at home. When he gets strapped down, he becomes calmer almost like being swaddled, like a newborn

May 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm
(45) Jimm57 says:

I just love the comments about Medical practices from non professionals or even worse a blogger (you know who you are). Let me state so you don’t think I’m some elitist snob, I also am not a healthcare professional. I am the father of a severly disabled child who has not had to use a papoose (sorry PC screwballs) for any treatments but I consider it a much more effective and statistically safer way to treat a child/adult who has BM issues. How many more Deamonte Drivers or Jacobi Hills must we have in this Country before we stop treating Doctors as the enemy. To #6 & # 13 thank you and you’ve made the correct decision.

June 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm
(46) Maureen says:

my son has autism- to have blood drawn is a huge deal! When the doctor’s office used the papoose board, he actually relaxed (this is not true of allchildren – but very true for mine). His whole body relaxed – he still verbally protested and cried but we (his parents) were not physically exhausted when they were done. We have had blood work since that office visit – at Lab Corp (which does not use the papoose board- I know because I asked for it…) my husband & I were drenched in sweat from holding him done.. I would like to have the option of using a papoose board, especially as I get older (I’m 50) & he gets stronger (he is 11).

July 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm
(47) a dental hygienist says:

Dental professionals struggle with this dilemma too. When I came here I thought most opinions would exist to demonize the use of papoose boards but have been surprised with the number of parents who not only support but endorse their use.

Here’s an article about General Anesthesia vs. Restraint from a dental perspective: http://www.dentalbuzz.com/2010/07/01/pedopapoose/ >

July 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm
(48) Erica says:

I am a nurse and am currently looking for a papoose board for us to use in the office. I have no intention on using the board for every child that I have to draw blood from, some children are very well behaved and as long as you explain what you are going to do and let them know when you are going to stick them, they act wonderful. There are children that no matter how many times you explain exactly what is going to happen they WILL NOT hold still. My biggest concern with children like this is that either myself, the parent holding them, or another nurse or office worker helping will get an accidental needle stick. The papoose board to many may seem inhumane; however, look at it from a nursing aspect please. Would you feel comfortable trying to stick a patient that has 2+ adults piled over them trying to hold them still? Also how comfortable would you feel if you are near the receiving end of the needle with a thrashing child. I have drawn blood from a 3 year old who didn’t have to be held at all and she thanked me afterward; however, I have also attempted to draw blood from a 5 year old who thrashed so much it was impossible. You people who want to say that doctors offices and dentists who use papoose boards need to be beaten or what have you need to try to do just want you are asking of a medical professional with a child thrashing. I think it would be very possible that you would then realize where the papoose has its place in medicine. Just an fyi to the people who would like to say that the office I work at is “inhumane” (because I want to purchase one of these to use) 99% of our parents leave here talking about how wonderful we are and want to take cards to give to their friends. I buy fruit snacks and juice boxes to bring for the children that I do have to give injections to or draw blood from or anything else that is unpleasent. How many medical offices do you know of that the nurse uses her own money to buy treats for the kids when she does have to do unpleasent things to them. Think about that while you are calling me inhumane for using such toture devices.

August 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm
(49) Michelle says:

Our son Danny who is now 15 (with CP,intellectual disabilities and senosry issues)has been having blood draws for medication level checks from the ages of 2 and although he is very squimy, we have always preferred to have medical personnel and ourselves hold on to him firmly. For the dentist, we are fortunate to have a wonderful pediatric dentist who has worked with kids for special needs for years and is able to work very quickly with his team. For EKGs and other procedures, they have always used a sedative first, which made him pretty loopy and sleepy.
I think the papoose board can be helpful for some situations but only as a last resort.

August 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm
(50) christie says:

This article really caught my eye because I am taking my four yr old son with autism and significant sensory issues to the dentist tomorrow. For me to only brush his teeth is a huge struggle and compromise. We brush til the count of five and take a break but even then most of the time he is screaming. I understand how some parents would think the papoose board would be inhumane but the alternative would be having three or four grown people on top of your child or your child’s teeth rooting and falling out of their head. I have made the dentist office aware of his conditions and if my son is screaming and refusing to let the dentist work on cleaning his teeth I feel the only alternative would be to use the board. Better that then having his teeth fall out…

September 16, 2010 at 4:18 pm
(51) Kelli Cox says:

There are always alternatives to keep from restraining a child. I have a special needs child and I work with her about her teeth in a way that works for her, not me. I don’t give her junk food and everything I feed her is organic. There is research done on cultures who do not have tooth decay because their diet is so pure. So instead of relying on dentists to take care of my child’s teeth, I am being responsible for what gets on them in the first place. Knowledge is power!! Also, my daughter only says Mama but I know when she doesn’t like something. She was supposed to get an EEG recently and she was very upset being held down. So we left. I am not going to torture my child for tests. There are alternatives I am going to find them. I am going to create and keep peace in my daughters life. That is my job as her mother.

November 15, 2010 at 2:37 pm
(52) JS says:

I worked in a pediatric dental office for six years and have witnessed the consequences of using a “pedi wrap” and not using one. One of my patients was wrapped so that she could have a broken tooth extracted without hurting herself! Let me tell you that she left smiling that day and returned 1 week later for a PO check smiling excited to see us! She was 2 years old! I also had a 9 YO patient who by accident was penetrated with a dental needle in his hand because he was not restrained and began taking a fit during treatment! It could have been avoided if the child was restrained or sedated! Not one of my wrapped patients has been so traumatized that they suffer from any long term effects. Some people need to understand that a pedi wrap is used for safety!!! Maybe some parents should think about where the negativity is coming from. I would be scared to go to the dentist too if my mom and dad wait so long that the teeth are abscessed and painful…how are they to know any better….all they know is pain associated in the mouth and dental cavities are 100% preventable!! Remember parents you are the boss, not the child!!! If you start dental care early (1 year old), there is usually not any problems with dental care in the future. I am a mother too and I look at dental care with or with out being wrapped as a learning block that everyone will have to go through one day in their life! Children who have conventional treatment instead of general anesthesia show postive feelings having coped with a difficult situation by there own efforts!! I hope this helps some people with concerns on this subject!

November 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm
(53) JS says:

Let me also say you can google and article of a little boy who died after using sedation in Florida! And then make the decision of sedating your child or just wrap him in a comforting “blanket” while we scare aware the cavity bugs that are hurting his teeth!!

November 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm
(54) Stefani says:

My son was put on a Papoose board for dental work. After he was done there was like under the skin bruising around his back, as if something was tied tightly around it. Is this kind of bruising normal??? Help!

December 11, 2010 at 7:24 pm
(55) Marianne says:

I had to be strapped to one of these after having the tip of my finger cut off while helping my aunt put away a folding (sofa) bed. My fingertip got caught inbetween the bars. They were able to save it and I barely remember it all. But I do recall the head strap part and crying not because of the pain beause of the papoose. What I can remember, was terrifying. After they gave me the local anesthetic into my finger, I probably would have been fine. Believe it or not, and I don’t know if it is related, but I absolutely PANIC if someone holds down my arms to my side, especially with a blanket over me. I LOSE it.

December 23, 2010 at 11:03 pm
(56) Heather Z. says:

I had a very strong opinion about this topic before I started reading all the other comments. I had no idea that the use of a papoose board was so wide spread, especially in non-hospital settings like a dentist office. I also hadn’t really thought about its use on special needs children. I still think that the use of papoose boards is awful & I would never ever use one on my child but I can understand how it could seem like a good choice for some parents.

I’m speaking about this as a 27 year old adult who was severely traumatized by the use of papoose boards. When I was 5-6 years old I had to go to the hospital a lot for ear infections (later remedied when I finally got my tonsils taken out) & every single time I had to have an IV put in. The doctors gave my mom 2 choices: hold me herself, or I would have to be strapped down to the papoose board. And every single time I would be put on the papoose board because my mom couldn’t stand to hold me & see me cry. She still recounts how she could hear me screaming from a whole floor away (she didn’t stay in the room with me either when I was on the board). I remember it taking forever because if I moved or jerked away when they tried to put the IV in then they would have to take it out & do it again … well of coarse being little I tried to move a lot & I got poked a lot too.

Well here I am over 20 years later & I still have problems with needles & going to the doctor for shots or blood work. I will get so worked up beforehand that I end up giving myself a panic attack. Even thinking about it know I’m shaking. For the longest time I couldn’t even touch myself on the inside of my wrist or elbow, both places IVs were put in when I was younger. Not to mention watching needles/IVs put in on TV, forget it! It isn’t the “pain” that’s the problem, because once I calm down enough to have the procedure done it really doesn’t hurt that much … but it’s the anticipation of what’s about it happen that I can’t stand.


December 23, 2010 at 11:23 pm
(57) Heather Z. says:

cont …

I will say though that I’m getting a lot better. For the past, almost, year I’ve been conducting my own self imposed form of therapy … I go donate blood plasma twice a week. The first time I was nervous & had to fight off another panic attack, but I got through it enough to get the needle in – then I had a little over an hour to sit there with a needle in my arm & try not to freak out. Thankfully I did get through it & it’s got a little better ever time I go – I still won’t look when they poke me, but I can look at the tube afterwards now. It feels good that I can help someone else while helping myself get past this traumatic event.

Again, I now realize that there may be a time & a place to use such restraints especially on special needs children. But speaking from experience, for “normal” (for lack of a better term) children that have to undergo routine procedures I think it’s better to put your, the parents, discomfort aside & think about what’s better & less traumatic for the child. Maybe I could have been spared years of panic attacks if my mom could have just held me herself, instead of waiting down the hall.

December 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm
(58) Courtney says:

I’m probably in the minority here, but as a girl, now 18, with Asperger’s from the age 7-15, I had a really, really bad case of trypanophobia. There is this clinic I went since I was 8 in Illinois that dealt with children like me… The first visit, I was so traumatized, I literally ran out of the office into the back of the car and hid. My mother had to bring me back in and I was so traumatized and since I lived three hours away, there was no way to reschedule so they had no choice and they explained it to me that it was for my benefit and had to use it as a last resort.

Now, I was traumatized at the though, but for some reason, I found it very theraputic. Yes, it’s odd, but I felt sort of secure like someone was hugging me. Yes, I could bounce around in it and my mother and another nurse were instructed to do so, but it’s strange, even though the nurses discouraged me from making them break it out, I enjoyed it. I immediately gave into resistance and I let them and it didn’t hurt to my surprise.

The proceding visits, they made it a goal not to restrain me and even though I wanted the board, they were determined not to go there and I couldn’t express my feelings to them well at the time due to my poor communication skills when I was younger. They were able to, but I often felt really, really tense so the needle hurt more than it should.

Of course, when I was 15, I finally overcame my fear and although I would get anxiety, the best way to overcome it was to just take 10 minutes on the examination table with my arm out before the nurses came. I feel less on the defensive side and it definitely makes the nurses job easier.

However, ever since then, I have always enjoyed being wrapped up in a heavy blanket like a burrito or being tied up or restrained, not in a sexual way, but in a more theraputic way… Like it calms me down.

June 25, 2011 at 6:51 pm
(59) Concerned Mama says:

These may be OK if the parent consents…….but to not know they are being used is in my opinion a form of child abuse.

August 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm
(60) Melissa Burell says:


On July 22 , 2011 I took the most trusting beautiful wonderful special well adjusted 6 year old child in to have extensive Teeth work done…I promised her that the medicine would help her not hurt and that everything would be ok. I did NOT know they used these boards but it was in my paper work so I unknowingly signed my kid up that day for 2 hours of pure torture. She is one of the ,01% of children that had an adverse reaction to versed and because they had her pinned down and restrained and mouth full of crap she could not let them know. She sat in that chair wide awake having hallucinations and accelerated heart rate along with pain for 2 hours. They would not allow me back and I had no idea what was going on. I left that place with a child in true shock….it has taken us doctor after doctor to get her through the mental and physical consequences of being strapped down while suffering and basically 1 step from death. I would have never allowed this to be used on her if I had known. I understand in emergencies of them being used but is putting a child through pure hell worth saving a baby tooth….I am now just a month later finding out they used this,(she finally spoke up in a play session, Medical bills are 30 grand and climbing and it all is because of this torture tool they strapped her in. They had no idea the medicine had not worked on her because she could not in any way let them know because her body was totally wrapped…..these things should be outlawed for dental work. I did not come home with my child that day…I came home with a child that is full of panic and illness 24/4…she wont even eat and drink. She lays on the couch crying 24/7…mommy help me, Im scared or is clinging to me like the devil is after her…..I WILL NEVER FORGIVE MY SELF

September 4, 2011 at 3:30 am
(61) Holly says:

Never use one on your child for a painful procedure. Give them proper anesthesia. Don’t even hold your child down if its painful enough. I’ve heard stories of doctors holding down children for urethral dilation, caths, and other things going up their bottoms that is both painful and to their tiny minds complete invasion and what I’d consider rape.

I was held down just for eye doctor appointments as I had a lazy eye. The dilation drops hurt me so I would fight but no one believed me. Now I can’t go to the eye doctor at all. I haven’t been for 7 years. I can’t even imagine what it is like for children who have more invasive things done.

I was also held down for an exam of my privates my a male doctor even though I cried and insisted I wanted a girl doctor.

The only doctor I’m not afraid of is my dentist because he hid the needle from me then I was completely surprised when he said he had given me a shot. If they had held me down I wouldn’t even be able to go there.

It took 6 years just for me to be able to go to a gyno because of my terror of doctors from being held down for procedures.

Don’t do this to you kids. I can only forgive my mother because of her ignorance. For those with autistic kids I guess you get to use the excuse that “they’ll never be normal anyway”.

I still have terrible phobias of doctors and if I can’t be given general anesthesia then I absolutely will not go through invasive procedures. I often have panic attacks and suffer from other symptoms of PTSD. Its called pediatric PTSD and even infants who were “too young to remember” suffer from it for years.

November 3, 2011 at 6:11 pm
(62) Lisa says:

I took my 7 year old daughter to a pediatric dentist. She needed to have the decay taken out of two teeth, have medicine put into the hole, and then put a cap on. They first gave her a drink to relax her, then laughing gas, then the blanket. I was allowed to stay til she fell asleep and I saw them gently wrap the blanket around her. I left and about 40 mnts later I thought I heard her crying/screaming. I asked the secretary to check on her. She did and said she was still sleeping. About 10 mnts later, I was allowed to go back and she was hyperventilating and she was so zoned out. When a child hyperventilates, they have been crying a long time…and hard. So I asked how long she was crying and the dentist said only for a little bit and she was just upset, not really crying. She had a blister on her hand, scratches (from the Velcro maybe) on her arms, and small circular marks (dots) on her shoulder. I want to do something like make a complaint or more, but not sure if I can. Is this normal? I signed a document stating I would allow the blanket but didn’t read the small print. I will never leave my child unattended again.
Any suggestions?

December 2, 2011 at 9:55 pm
(63) niesha says:

my 4 year old went to kool smiles and without my permission restraint my daughter. i had no idea that the dentist done this and it was a horrible horrible way to find out they do. i would not allow this to happen to my child. she was so scarred and she was panicking. it was 45 min before they come got me and they said she had already busted out of them twice. my daughter needed me and bi was not there. it was horle nightmarewni walkeditoth rom. im highly pissed orhis. they ould hav akdme firstof

February 18, 2012 at 12:52 am
(64) Joan says:

I had this done when I was a kid. My mom never did do anything to even stop it. Now, whenever I have a you-know-what appointment I have full out panic attacks. My own mother rubs my face in my extreme dental-phobia. She doesn’t even care and she makes it worse. Tons of people make fun of me for it, no one understands. I’m 15 and I now have claustrophobia issues. I’ve had all these things happen to me when I’m young and it terrifies me. Being held down, that stupid board. Everyone pokes fun at it and no one understands. They think it’s hilarious. I’m sure my panic attacks I have alone in my room are funny. I have an appointment in 5 days. Now I get to sit here and wait until what feels like my death.

February 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm
(65) Penny says:

There was another incident of death this year, 2012 at a dentist office . This was the SECOND death for a child under this dentist’s care.


PARENTS need to be in the room and monitoring of the situation needs to happen. Trauma needs to be recognized!

March 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm
(66) catherine says:

One of my earliest memories is being tied to a papoose board when I was 3 and I had to have stitches in my ear after falling and slicing it open on a metal latch. I guess they thought they had no choice, but I have only recently been able to get through a dental appointment without a panic attack, but just the thought being on my back and at the mercy of a doctor touching around my head still makes my heart race. This was over thirty years ago. I just happened upon the subject and am sad that dentists and doctors sometimes seem jump to this “solution” when to me holding off and trying to calm the child could also work.

March 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm
(67) lu says:

My son uses a papoose with great results. He seems to actually like it. He wants his teeth cleaned, but simply cannot stay still enough without it.

He is very proud and hugs the dentist and assistant after they’re done.

I am sure that people saying these are horrible have never seen a patient like my son. It has allowed him to have regular cleanings and checkups and saved a lot of money by avoiding the Operating Room with sedation.

Without use of papoose, my son has to wait TWO YEARS to get an O.R. appointment. Without those regular cleanings, he suffers from swollen and painful gums.

I say these devices are a godsend, used properly.

April 26, 2012 at 10:17 pm
(68) George Rankin says:

When I was a young child from about 7 til i was 10 I had major dental problems and had to go to the dentist a lot. When I would go to this dentist he would use one of those God awful boards on me every time. It was so traumatic that I didn’t ever go back to any dentist until I was 28 and had to get all my teeth pulled. It made me so scared of the dentist that I just let my teeth get that bad. Maybe it’s good for children with special needs but not on a kid who would grit and bare it, and it should never be used everytime a child goes to the dentist.

June 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm
(69) Hello10 says:

Okay when I was 9 I was scared of injections so I would refuse them, and at that time I was pretty tall so the automatic doors had a switch on them to open them so I had ran away, then went home, its traumatic, and I’m scared of hospitals even at this age (17), even though I would happily have a blood test now, when I was 9 there were 9 nurses, my mom and my grand parents holding me down to have this blood test but they put it in but could find no vein so they put it in 5 times but found no veins (Doctor is no doctor) so as soon as they took it out and let me go I just ran out of the place, And would I prefer the Papoose board? Not at all, if they had asked my parents if they wanted to use that and if they agreed I would never speak to them again, plus I would have gotten violent if they had attempted it (Really violent, punching, smashing things up, Not punching my parents, just the people who attempted to put me in the thing), I appreciate it may be easier but think about the child, I’m 17 and I’m worried about my health care being controlled by your legal guardian (My Mum and Dad), Chances are they are not going to restrain a 17 year old on a Papoose board, rather 4 point restraints (I’m never stepping foot in a hospital unless I’m dying) Anyway I was in because they though I had Apendicitas but I never I had just not gone to the toilet for a few days (idiots), I understand parents want to do the so called best, and they do but I doubt being physically restrained has happened to them, its horrible, I had to imagine what being restrained with straps is like, Either way in my personal opinion I would rather be in pain than be restrained, So papoose board is pretty inhumane if you ask me.

August 27, 2012 at 8:04 am
(70) Trisha says:

About six months ago I took my seven year old daughter to the dentist. She has never had issues with needles or dental work. She was going to have some extensive work done on her mouth. She was SUPPOSED to be very sleepy and they wanted to use the papoose so that her arms and legs would not flop off the chair. During the oral surgery she was NOT asleep, they had an opening device in her mouth and she was screaming for me and crying. Two hours………… I had no idea what was going on until after it was all done. NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED. NOR WILL IT HAPPEN AGAIN!!!!!!!!! She laid there defensless, strapped in, and almost gagged and all she wanted was for me to be in there with her.

September 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm
(71) Dietmar Kennel says:

Papoose boards should NEVER be used without proper consent from the parent or caregiver. Proper consent needs to be a full explanation of treatment and objectives for the use of the restraining device, it also needs to include alternatives, that may include referral to somebody that will be able to offer sedation or general anesthesia for treatment. 2 hours of treatment in a papoose is abuse in my mind and cannot be justified in any way.

September 15, 2012 at 9:21 pm
(72) Margarita says:

My daughter was three years old when she had to get stitches on her forehead and the nurses and doctor were great. They never said anything about having to restrain her at all. My daughter was scared and crying and they were awesome. They put a gel on the spot that numbed it and then they had her lay down on the bed and they gave her a Popsicle and they had a nurse (child life specialist I believe was what her title was) that gave her a DVD and she got to watch Dora while they stitched her head. I got to stay and watch in case my daughter needed me. Some of your comments sounded scary but if my daughter was out of control and I couldn’t restrain her or they couldn’t I wouldn’t say no to the child restrain. There for the protection of the child and the doctor. They have them to save them from being sued if something happened. I think it depends on the situation, on your child and it depends on the child’s disability. But they should never lie to you or your child about the procedure and they should let you as a parent inside. Unless your child can speak for themselves and said no I don’t want my parent there.

March 26, 2013 at 8:02 am
(73) Lauree Gregg says:

I can testify, as did Wayne, that until you are in the situation, you have no right to judge. I too have a severely autistic child who cannot talk. He is now 19 years old. Let me explain that sometimes medical procedures are necessary for good health, that includes dental care. Without the use of a papoose (on occasion) many people have been and will continue to be injured by trying to hold him. His doctors cannot even get a blood pressure cuff on his arm, never have, unless he was sedated. If you have never had to use one of these for your handicapped child, you’re an exception and you need to thank God; however, if you have, you know that it’s the best alternative to the child or someone else being severely injured. Nobody can hold my son who is 6′ tall and weighs 200 lbs. I say it’s not cruel when there is dire need, however, it is if your child is just a brat and that’s your way of coping. If you judgemental people have a viable alternative, please let all of us know, and good luck finding it, I’ve asked doctor’s for years.

March 27, 2013 at 1:27 pm
(74) LRPEDS says:

I have worked with several special needs children and throughout the years I have seen all sorts of reactions from parents. Most parents know thier kids well enough to know what is need and what is not, in my experiance if the child is a risk to himself or other the board is a perfect option. One of my regular kids that I work with is severally autsisc and generally has to be boarded several times a week if not several times a day, this is because when he gets “upset” he becomes VERY self-abusive. He wont lash out at others, but if left alone he would kill himself by bashing his head in the floor and other like behaviors. This can go on for minutes or hours. Without the board several people would have to manually hold him down and TRY to prevent him from harm while trying to avoid harm to themselves in the process. It looks hard espcially when he is screaming and yelling, but in reality its the only safe option for him. I would definatly recommend them compared to manual restraints.

April 23, 2013 at 11:54 am
(75) Mamaof2bellaboys says:

My 2 1/2 year old son had to have a lot of dental work done and a papoose board was used he screamed for almost the entire time and now I have the hardest time getting him to brush his teeth,and he also has night terrors almost every night and before he rarely had night mares let alone terrors.He needed the dental work done he had 6 crowns put in and 1 tooth pulled along with 3 cavities filled due to genetics he has very soft teeth question is what can I do about his night terrors?

May 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm
(76) Darren says:

I was strapped into one when I was four. I took a header and had to get some fine sand removed from my forehead. I still remember the whole incident and I’m forty now. I think the papoose board should be only used as a ‘life over limb situation ‘ on children.

May 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm
(77) Deb Jastrebski says:

Please look at the Practice Without Pressure website. We are an alternative to restraint and sedation for medical, dental and personal care procedures. I’m a mother who did allow papoose boards, restraint and sedation for my son for years until I learned there really was another way. Thanks.

August 8, 2013 at 5:36 pm
(78) kevin says:

100% Unacceptable, I would never allow my child to be subjected to just torturous practices when their are a myriad of other solutions.

September 23, 2013 at 12:26 pm
(79) Lynda says:

To all of you that think it is torture for a child to be put in a papoose board: The decision is different for everyone and a personal one! To Kevin (last comment-78) Tell me what else is out there that I missed??? What myriad of other solutions?? I am desperate for your input!

My autistic child is 9. He is non-verbal but can understand simple things like “put your shoes on, come here, take your schoolbag, etc…”

We used the papoose board and the dentist suggested anesthesia for teeth cleaning! Is she crazy???!!!!! My son has had idiopathic asplastic anemia at birth, gotten blood transfusions for years, went through a bone marrow transplant at 10 months, came close to death 3 times because of septicemia, c-difficile, graft vs host disease post-transplant. A parent’s worst nightmare! He was finally cured at 3 years old. During the first 3 years of his life he has gone under anesthesia 15 times for many operations like catheter implants and also gastrostomy tube for nutrition, also endoscopies for his reflux–do you think I want to use anesthesia just to clean teeth???

Thanks for listening!
From a parent that has gone to hell and back!

November 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm
(80) lele says:

Oh the good ole papoose board. If I would’ve known what I know today, never would I have insisted my child to be in one. I never realized the negative effect it would have then and most of her young childhood. The dentist was very impatient, shoving instruments in her mouth, no warning of anything and when I tried to comfort my baby, I was told to go into the waiting room-absolutely not-if I go, she goes with me. This dentist ended up hurting my girlies teeth then and we are not paying for it now. Going to dentist is a lil bit easier simply because she’s older and I tell her every single thing that is going to happen the night before, on the way and even to the dentist chair. The dentist allows me to hold her hand, explain everything to her although she has already done so. It is more comforting coming from me while I sit and hold her hand and talk smoothly and calmly to her-eye contact at all times is needed to assure what you are saying is the exact same thing that is going to happen. I do not recommend the papoose board-not at anytime. If a dentist is gentle and mild mannered, a child will not fear him/her and allow them to do the work. If you have to physically hold your baby during the whole entire procedure, do so. After all the traumatic dental visits, I just sought another alternative-medication that would allow my child to sleep while dentistry was being done. I had to pay for it, but it helped my child get her dental needs taken care of without stressing her out. I only recommend the medication if it is being administered by qualified personnel-period!!! The amount is based on child’s weight-no more than what is needed. I insisted to be a part of every single step/process that had to do with my child’s dental needs-if they wouldn’t accommodate, I wasn’t willing to allow my child to be seen by that dentist-period!!!!

January 22, 2014 at 1:09 am
(81) Anna says:

I have been strapped down on at thing. I hated it. It is the cruelest thing u could do to a child. My mother used it for my brothers. One of my brothers clothes were so wet when he was all done, it was as he was swimming. Children face severe pain and anxiety and I don’t suggest u do it for your child and what I hate the most is that parents MUST leave the room and say for the dentist, all the work is done opinion one day, children feel pain, much pain, as I also experienced it at a child

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