Alternatives to restraining children for clinical procedures
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Alternatives to restraining children for clinical procedures

Imelda Coyne Professor of children’s nursing and director of children’s research, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, Nursing Children and Young People
Paula Scott Practice nurse, O’Hare Medical Centre, Birr, Offaly, Ireland

Imelda Coyne and Paula Scott explore this controversial practice and the advice given in nursing policy

On children’s wards, restraint appears to be used often, rather than as a last resort, to assist the delivery of clinical procedures. The difference between restrictive physical intervention and therapeutic holding seems to depend on the degree of force used and whether the child gives consent. Restraint can have a negative emotional and psychological effect on children, parents or carers, and nurses. Healthcare staff need to examine their daily practice and always employ a range of interventions to seek a child’s co-operation with procedures. Restraint should only be used when there is no alternative in a life-threatening situation. It is essential that all hospitals providing care for children have an explicit restraint policy and provide education, training and guidance for all healthcare staff.

Nursing Children and Young People. 26, 2, 22-27. doi: 10.7748/ncyp2014.


Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 13 May 2013

Accepted: 04 October 2013

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