Dentist Using “Papoose Board” Is NOT Wrong

Dentist Using “Papoose Board” Is NOT Wrong

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A Georgia family was extremely upset that their 5-year-old daughter was strapped to a papoose board during a dental procedure.  The father and grandmother said they were told they couldn’t go to the exam room and were waiting in the front of the office. They heard the little girl screaming and went back to find her.  The father said he found her on the board and couldn’t handle it.



“I couldn’t see my kid in the body bag just strapped down…to bed. I couldn’t handle it.” The grandmother said, “It was awful to see her tied down like that. It hurt me.” The office said that parents sign a consent form and the parents are allowed in the room when the papoose board is in use.  However, Crow said he doesn’t remember being notified.


Grandmother, Evelyn, stated, “I said, ‘what in the world are you all doing to her? Why is she strapped down? She don’t want to cooperate…what do you mean she don’t want to cooperate, she’s only five years old?!”

According to Dr. Mary Hayes, a spokeswoman for the American Dentistry Association, the papoose board is to keep children safe during their visit to the dentist. “When it’s often used, it’s trying to prevent movement which is going to interfere with a treatment…In the emergency room when the child needs suturing, [protective] stabilization is used quite a bit.”

I am the parent of a child who doesn’t particularly care for the dentist.  My son has had to have a couple of cavities filled. His dentist offers nitrous oxide (laughing gas). They’ve always allowed me to be in the room during all procedures.  Because I’m in the room, I see the need for him to be calm and not swinging his arms or moving while the dentist does what they need to do.

In the instance above, the parent should have been allowed in the room. However, if the girl was moving around and not cooperating, the parents should have been called to make the decision about the papoose board. If it was too much for the girl to handle, they should have worked out another way to complete the procedure. The doctor is only at fault for not having the parent in the room, not for using the board.

How do your kids do at the dentist? Do they have to have nitrous oxide or a papoose board for difficult procedures?