Because of the burgeoning of allergic disorders, more and more children are requiring auto- injectors of epinephrine. These devices are used to stop severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis.
If the device is required it is obviously at a time of crisis for both the child and the parent, which makes it more likely for mis-adventures to occur. Because it is life-critical that the medication be properly administered, it usually requires some form of child restraint.
Thus has evolved the concept of compassionate restraint known as “the epi-hug.”
The best site to administer the epinephrine is the top side of the child’s thigh. So, try to visualize this: one parent should sit and place the child on his or her lap, with the child sitting on one of that parent’s legs, while the parent’s other leg rests on top of the child’s knees, immobilizing the child’s legs.
The parent should use her non-dominant arm around the child’s back to hold and immobilize the child’s free arm. Have the child place his other arm in a “hug” around the back of the parent. The parent’s dominant arm is then free to use the auto-injector on the child’s thigh.
Trying to administer the epinephrine to a non-restrained or “bucking” child has led to countless episodes of partially administered doses, broken needles and even of the parent accidently being injected.
The advice of “practice makes perfect” applies. If you’ve rehearsed the epi-hug with the “trainer” injector before a true need, it will help ensure all goes well.