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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

2 year old and asthma spacer - how can I encourage her to use it?

(25 Posts)
saladsucks Thu 02-Oct-08 10:56:22

Our GP decided yesterday that the persistent night cough DD has had for the past 6 or so weeks is asthma and that she needs an inhaler etc. So we picked up the inhaler and spacer last night. So far DD looks at it and cries.

I understand that there are 2 ways we can handle this, either the nicely nicely approach of letting her get used to it over time (but the cough not getting any better) or by pinning her down and giving it to her (may scare her more but the cough will get better quicker).

Does anyone have any advice on which approach worked for them?

EdwardCullenCanHaveMySoul Thu 02-Oct-08 10:58:21

Not me, but a friend, her Dd was petrified by the spacer so she made it into a puppy face! It had googly eyes and floppy ears etc (you get the picture!) She loved it after that.
May not work but worth a thought!

nellieloula Thu 02-Oct-08 12:49:57

oh this takes me back! We got marker pens and drew faces onto the inhalers (not the spacer but the actual ventolin/becotide holders) and called them Mr Blue (for ventolin) and Mr Brown (for bec.) - happy faces, cross faces, sill faces etc. and then made up little stories. Took a couple of days but DS would happily take it then (same age as your DC).

We would also count to ten in silly voices (for the 10 secs they have to have it on their face for)or in different languages. It is tricky in the early days, and we did try the 'he has to get used to it so pin him down' tactic too and also covering the spacer with stickers but for us, Mr Blue and Mr Brown were far more successful and are very much part of our lives now! (still makes me think I'm in some weird reservoir dogs moment but hey! Good Luck with it. smile

giddly Thu 02-Oct-08 12:56:35

We used it as a drum, and sang songs and tapped out the rhythm on it. Puffer time was song time. Worked a treat for us.
At one point it also used to wear a cardigan hmm
Life's just one round of jolly japes in the giddly household. Anyway, good luck and you already have some lovely suggestions here.

yomellamoHelly Thu 02-Oct-08 12:57:26

I did the pinning down approach. When he's ill there is no reasoning with him. When he's starting to feel better he will happily take puffs directly from the inhalers (he's 4 now).

norksinmywaistband Thu 02-Oct-08 13:01:23

I got the GP to give me a fake inhahler(placebo) so the whole family had a go before DS (obviously with the real inhahler)
also left the spacer in the toy box so it was normal within the house.
DS is now 2.6 and asks for it when he feels chesty.
And is very good at using it

saladsucks Thu 02-Oct-08 13:01:42

thank you all.

Do you think it really matters if we go down the "fun" route and it takes longer for the cough to clear up? We already have to do physio with her every day (which sometimes requires pinning down as well) and I'm keen to avoid one more task becoming a chore in our lives. But I don't want to be so nice that we end up not treating the cough!

piratecat Thu 02-Oct-08 13:01:58

dd wasn't scared of it, just had to be told it was fine and would help her cough.
then i pinned her down!!

Jojay Thu 02-Oct-08 13:03:25

We did the pinning down approach too, though DS was only 11 months when we started using it, so I'm not sure funny faces, stickers etc would have worked anyway. He got used to it in a relatively short time and is no trouble now. ( just as well as he's taking a right cocktail of puffers ATM sad)

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Thu 02-Oct-08 13:04:48

when my sister was young we let her decorate her spacer iwth glittery nail varnish and stencils. with supvervision of course. stickers work well too.

cmotdibbler Thu 02-Oct-08 13:10:43

We had a lot of sucess with DS (and he was 10 months when we started) by everyone having a puff (we just make a noise), counting to 10, and then big applause for the puffee.

If he doesn't co-operate, then one person has him on their lap, arm across his arms and waist, and the other holding his head against theirs. The other person administers it. But we still do the whole counting and applause thing and he calms down into doing that. The upside is that he counts really well to 10 !

Most of the time its no problem now - he's 2.4 and is now asking for puff when he feels wheezy

isittooearlytogotobed Thu 02-Oct-08 13:18:36

line a few of her teddies and dolls up and give them a go first, thats how we got DD to accept hers

worth a try

geogteach Thu 02-Oct-08 13:37:50

second giving it to teddy, putting stickers on. Bubbles are also good one parent administers inhaler while other blows bubbles, kid gets to have a go blowing bubbles if he cooperates. It does get easier with time, DS no longer needs his but we did it twice a day for 3 years and more often when he was ill, it became 'normal'

debzmb62 Thu 02-Oct-08 13:58:42

have you got the big spacer or the little childrens one ? my little girl is really good at taking hers we play a game with it sort of thing although i did at first have to use the pinning down route !!

cthea Thu 02-Oct-08 14:03:10

There's a patient leaflet here where they mention a face mask can be used on babies and young children. Also a link to which may have some tips for children.

canofworms Thu 02-Oct-08 14:04:45

There are loads of tips and advice on asthma . org . uk for parents of young children and using spacers.

Wouldn't recommend pinning her down as she will become even more terrified of it (but have no actual experience of using one with a 2-year-old grin)

saladsucks Thu 02-Oct-08 20:11:01

Thank you so much. We played with it at bedtime for a long time tonight and after 20 minutes(!) she held it to her face for 3 seconds. Didn't get to use the puffer but we are one step closer to her accepting it. I'll try to give a couple of puffs in her sleep so I know that she is actually getting some benefit as well.

yomellamoHelly Thu 02-Oct-08 20:18:32

I used to do puffs in sleep too. (Setting alarm for every 3 hours on a few occasions!) I felt I needed to hold the spacer in place for a little longer since ds was breathing more shallowly, but I did get away with it.

bobblehat Thu 02-Oct-08 20:32:32

Ours is called the trumpet, and ds loves humming into it before he gets the squirt

debzmb62 Fri 03-Oct-08 10:58:07

have you got the big spacer or the child one ! this is the child one and i,m sure if you have,nt got this one the doctor will precribe it for you you won,t have to buy it but this is the first pic i found they do different sizes for childrens ages to

you might have to copy and paste this as not sure its the right way to post it hope it helps its very child freindly

Mimsy2000 Fri 03-Oct-08 11:08:26

i second yomelamohelly - doing it while they are sleepiing is the path of least resistance. assume you have a mask that covers nose and mouth? that way can even be done if they have a dummy in.

and yeah, have also done the pinning down bit. it sucks but sometimes no option... will defo try the decorating the mask bit - good idea.

saladsucks Fri 03-Oct-08 13:03:21

Er - what do you do when they sleep on their front and you can't get near them with the mask?

But she was slightly more happy to play with it this morning. So we're slowly getting there....

Mimsy2000 Fri 03-Oct-08 13:24:10

not sure - i guess you'll have to nudge her onto her side and try that way.

the other thing i would say is that you can't exactly overdose on the puffer. obvs you want to give her the correct dosage but lets say she pulls it off but you manage to get a few puffs in her, it's a start and should help. i say this b/c my son was once having a lot of trouble breathing and the gp just basically did about 15 puffs to ensure he got something. it was a totally imprecise procedure with ds pulling mask off and crying but he managed to get some inhaled and some relief. [i hope that helps rather than confuses]

Mimsy2000 Fri 03-Oct-08 13:26:10

saladsucks- basically just saying you might need to experiment a bit to see what works best for you and your dd and not to worry too much if she takes in less or more than 2 puffs whilst you are in the process of 'experimentation'

saladsucks Fri 03-Oct-08 16:52:28

thank you - that's very helpful.

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