Tea Time with Activated Charcoal

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Earlier this week I had a 2-year-old girl, let’s call her Lily, come into the ER because she had gotten into her grandmothers blood pressure medication. I was able to successfully distract her during her IV, being hooked up to a monitor, etc. After all of this, however, came the hard part… getting her to drink all of the activated charcoal on her own to avoid an NG tube.

Luckily, Lily was thirsty from the moment she arrived to the ER so when she got a bottle with a “black milkshake” in her hands, she quickly latched on and chugged a good amount! After a few gulps, her mouth and chin were covered with black goop and a small drop splattered onto her hand. She stopped drinking and asked me to clean her hand for her (such a girly girl)! However, this was the end of her willingly drinking the “black milkshake” and there was still about a quarter left.

The nurse told mom that Lily needed to drink the entire amount given because this was being given as an exact dosage. At this point mom started to get a little nervous begging Lily to drink it, bribing her with toys, trips to Disney world, ice cream, you name it. But Lily was not budging – she would quickly turn her head the other way and scrunch her forehead.

This is when my “Child Life Lightbulb” turned on! I rushed out of the room and grabbed my tea set (shout out to my Child Life Assistants for always keeping my toys clean for situations like these!) I set up the tea set for Lily, mom, the nurse, and I to have some fun. We pretended to pour tea into our cups, cheers, put “air sugar cubes” in our tea, sing, etc. Lily still wasn’t too happy to be drinking out of her bottle since everyone else had tea cups so, the nurse poured Lily’s drink into a medicine cup which she seemed to be satisfied with. And just like that, Lily drank the last bit of her black milkshake! Thanks to such a pro-child life nurse & a calm & supportive mother, we were all able to work together to help little Lily drink her activated charcoal, avoiding another procedure. This is definitely a Child Life win in my book!

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Image Source: http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Laugh-Learn-Say-Please/dp/B0083IXKXK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1412110554&sr=8-3&keywords=tea+set+toy

Favorite find of the month

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I thought I’d post my favorite find of the month a couple of days early this time around – before it’s no longer available! A few months back you might remember my post about prepping little ones for x-rays. I’ve been using my “cooper gets an x-ray” book along with a little camera to teach those concrete thinkers about picture taking & the mysteries that lie in that dark, “scary”, radiology department.

Well, this month I found an awesome little “camera” – LED flash & all – at Bath & Bodyworks. As child life specialists, were always carrying a million things in our pockets (I know I am) so the thing I loved most about this little camera is that it’s also a case for your hand sanitizer and a keychain! It’s a very fancy upgrade from my tiny spongebob camera and I can use it for many different things!

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Bath & Bodyworks – camera pocketpac case

Genius idea from a genius girl!

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11-year-old Kylie Simonds is in the works to create a backpack that could replace IV poles for children in the hospital. This IV backpack would help take away the stigma of seeing “the dreaded IV pole” and help kids be kids a little more while in the hospital. This is such an amazing idea, you go, Kylie!

Kylie Simonds’ original backpack features Hello Kitty but, once they are manufactured, they can be made in other designs.


To check out her Go Fund Me page, click: http://www.gofundme.com/bz01ds

To learn more about her story, click: Source: http://www.couragebykylie.com/

Favorite find of the month

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A common problem as a child life specialist is having your toys “walk away”. Being that I’m still fairly new, I haven’t found a grand source for toy donations so the toys that I do have to lend out to patients, I take extremely good care of.
One of my more popular toys is my “little people playsets” – you know, a plastic castle, home, or scene that comes with little characters to play in. Since the playsets themselves are fairly large and have “pediatrics” “please return to child life” “Peds ER” written in sharpie all over them, they rarely* walk away. The “little people” however disappear before they even come out of the box! I’ve been wanting to find a good solution to this that didn’t include spending millions on a lifetime supply of “little people” nor stopping use of the playsets all together.
Earlier this week I made a trip to Target where I found these cute Mystical Ponies! Each pack contains 20 and costs $1 (LOVE TARGET’S DOLLAR SECTION!) For boys, I have dinosaurs/ toy soldiers (not pictured) which also came in packs of 20 for $1. I stocked up on these little figurines & now if they’re taken, I have backup!

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Casting shadow buddies!

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In the emergency room we see many closed bone reductions (darn monkey bars!) so with the kids that are especially anxious about getting a cast, I like to create a shadow buddy and put a cast on their new little friend. This fun activity helps them get creative in decorating their doll (great key to see how they’re feeling based on what they draw) and allows them to gain mastery on cast placement. Also, when they go home they have a little pal that has a cast just like theirs.

With all of this talk about casting, one of our lovely ortho techs made me my own cast to be able to show kids what it’s “really” going to look like.

Currently I only have 4 shadow dolls that I received from someone else’s donation. You can’t really buy shadow dolls (at a reasonable price) so if any of my readers have tips on how I can get shadow dolls, please let me know!

& my adventure continues…

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      Today is the first day of school for many down here in Miami, so I figured today is a good day to announce to my followers that I’ve been accepted into grad school at Nova Southeastern University! The degree will be in Developmental Disabilities with a concentration in Child Life. This will be the first time that I’m working full time and going to school but luckily, the masters program is 100% online! I am so lucky to have been accepted into such an amazing program – I can’t wait to start!

If you’re interested in more information about the Developmental Disabilities masters program at Nova, click here: http://www.nova.edu/humanservices/devdisabilities/index.html