How to hold a small child to give an inhaler

4) The holding technique

Close up of mum holding young boy

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  1. Some children will take their inhalers perfectly well without a problem. However if you are having difficulty with your child taking their inhalers , here is a technique you may want to try.
  2. Wrap the child in a blanket or towel. Get them to cuddle up so they feel safe. Try to stay calm and reassuring. Get the inhaler ready.
  3. Get the child to breathe in the inhaled medicine even if they are crying. It’s not ideal but it is important to change behaviour so the child gets the benefit of the inhalers. The reason you wrap them up is to protect you so your child can’t lash out and hurt you, and also to protect the child. You don’t want the child to have bruises because you held them to take their inhalers.
  4. When you are holding the child be firm but try to stay calm yourself. The child should start to calm down as the inhalers take effect. They will start to learn that this really isn’t so bad after all.
  5. It should take about 2 weeks to get into a good routine. As the child starts to relax and gets used to taking their inhalers, you can stop using the towel or blanket and cuddle the child on your knee. Make the task fun if you can.
  6. The child will stop fighting because they know where the boundaries are with the inhalers and because they will feel better for them. Even very young children realise very quickly that the inhalers help.
  7. Remember to give lots of praise when they behave well. Positive attention usually works better than arguments and stress for you and your child.