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QOD: My child hates the nebulizer. Are there any tricks to get him to sit still?

Many children are scared of a nebulizer, but involving them in the process may help.

Your child may be able to help connect the tubing and mask, put the medicine in the machine, or hold the mask or mouthpiece “like a big boy” or “like a big girl.” Some children do not like the feeling of being confined by a mask but will tolerate the treatment better if it is just held close to the face.

For some children, distraction is key to cooperation! Silly songs, games, or toys may do the trick. You could also allow him to play with the mask when the machine is not on. Investing in a mask or nebulizer that is designed in the shape of an animal or other object may entertain your child through the treatment. A sticker or small toy at the end may be used as a reward for behaving. If all else fails, turn on a favorite video or TV show during the treatment. While screen time should be limited in children, this may be the perfect time to allow a few minutes of entertainment to provide some much needed distraction.

Reviewed by Dr. Kristie Rivers, November 2018

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