Comfort Hold Techniques :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Comfort Hold Techniques

These comfort hold techniques have been developed to help you hold your child during a procedure. The purpose of a hold is for your child to feel safe and to help him or her keep still and calm. Different procedures require different kinds of comfort holds. If you wish to be with and help to hold and comfort your child during a procedure, please read this Helping Hand to become familiar with what you will need to do.

You will need to maintain the hold until the technician tells you the procedure is over.

Using comfort holds

Back-to-Chest is good for hand or arm procedures

  • Have your child sit on your lap facing away from you.
  • Your child can turn his or her head toward or away from the procedure.
  • Your child’s arm can go under or over your arm.
Back to Chest Comfort Hold

Chest-to-Chest is also good for hand or arm procedures

  • Have your child sit on your lap facing you.
  • Wrap the child’s legs around your waist.
  • Your child can turn head toward or away from procedure.
  • Child’s arm can go under or over your arm.
Chest to Chest Comfort Hold

Shoulder Hug is best for mouth, nose, or ear procedures

  • Have your child sit on your lap facing you.
  • Wrap your child’s legs around your waist.
  • Support his or her head looking over your shoulder.
Shoulder Hug Comfort Hold

Sideways Lap Sit is best for leg procedures

  • Have your child sit on your lap facing sideways.
  • Secure the child’s arm with your own arm.
  • Secure his or her legs with your own leg.
Sideways Lap Sit Comfort Hold

Supine Hold is best for face or head procedures

  • Have your child sit on your lap facing away from you.
  • Your child can turn his or her head toward or away from the procedure.
  • Secure the child’s arms with your own arms.
  • Secure his or her legs with your legs on top of the child’s ankles.
Supine Hold Comfort Hold

Distraction

Helping your child focus his or her attention somewhere else during the procedure is a big help. Here are some ways to distract children of different ages.

Babies up to 12 months

  • Talk or sing softly.
  • Massage gently.
  • Offer a pacifier.

Toddlers age 1 to 3 years

  • Read a story.
  • Offer a favorite or new toy.
  • Give them a job or task.

Preschoolers age 3 to 6 years

  • Count or say ABCs.
  • Read a story.
  • Play a game.

School age 6 years and up

  • Do some deep breathing.
  • Talk about a hobby or event.
  • Play a game like I Spy or a letter game.

Comfort Hold Techniques (PDF)

HH-II-230 6/16 Copyright 2016, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

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Comfort hold techniques help soothe your child during procedures and protect against accidental needle sticks.
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