Special Stitches
Provided by: Edwin Schaefer ND, RN, FNP

For children 3 through about 8 years old, I have a trick that can decrease some anxiety when stitches are needed. Tell the children they need stitches and tell them they can pick the kind you will use. For a boy, offer him Batman, Superman, Speed Racer, Star Wars, Toy Story, Godzilla, etc. For girls, try Barbie, Cinderella, Teletubbies, Barney, Toy Story, etc. Look at any toys or other articles they may have brought for hints as to what they like and include it in their choices. You can tell when you have named the correct stitch because their eyes will light up.

Allowing the child to choose gives them something to think about and can decrease some of their anxiety by giving them the feeling that they have some control over the situation. I have calmed kids down that were starting to move around during stitching by commenting on how good they look with their stitches and that they made a very good choice. To make this work you need to sell it and really help them to believe it. Your staff can definitely help by joining in. I got this idea from my childhood dentist, who used to let me choose the type of filling I wanted. It helped me then, it seems to help the children I care for now, and I hope it helps you.

Last updated:  May 1, 2000


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