Bandage Battles and Temperature Tactics
Ripping Off a Bandage
Prep for the event by letting your child put a bandage on a doll and also on you, and then practice ripping them off. It's easiest to remove a bandage right after a bath, because water will loosen the adhesive. Then soak a cotton ball in baby oil or mineral oil and dab the top and edges of the bandage to further dissolve the glue, suggests Dr. Richter. Once it comes off, gently press the skin afterward -- that can help dull any pain. If the process is still a problem, doctors say there's no harm in waiting for the bandage to fall off on its own.
Taking Your Kid's Temperature
To take a rectal temperature, place your baby on her back, hold both ankles with one hand, then bend her legs to her chest and lift up her bottom, says Dr. Shu. Gently insert a thermometer coated in a small amount of lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, ? inch to 1 inch inside the rectum, and hold it loosely until you get a reading. For children older than 3, you can use a digital thermometer under the tongue. Make sure that you help hold it in place, and try humming with your child until the reading comes in. If your child is especially resistant, or has a stuffy nose that forces her to breathe through her mouth, you can take her temperature under her arm or use an ear thermometer. Dr. Shu's office uses a temporal-artery thermometer, which you swipe across the forehead; she says that it's accurate on children older than 6 months. No matter which technique you use, buy a thermometer that gives you a reading in ten seconds or less.
You can also help older kids cooperate by taking your own temperature first and showing them that it's not a big deal. Or practice on a beloved stuffed animal. When it's your child's turn, distract her with a book, a video, or a favorite toy. If you have more than one child (and you have enough thermometers), try this idea from Seattle mom Amy Efroymson: "Even if only one of my three daughters is sick, I give them each a thermometer and get them to compete in 'thermometer races.' They love to see who can get the beeping noise to go off first."
Keeping a Toddler in His Car Seat
Challenge your child by saying, "You can't climb into the car seat by yourself, can you?" You could also install a toy car seat next to your child and let him ride next to his favorite stuffed animal. (Find toy car seats and toy booster seats at joovy.com.) Give him something to hold -- such as a toy or a book -- as soon as you lift him into the seat. It will distract him while you buckle him in. If he stiffens up like a board, try tickling him and blowing raspberries on his belly to loosen him up. Never start the car until everyone is buckled in.
Consider making a trip to see a local firefighter or police officer to reinforce your car safety message. Nicki Bosch, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, told her four children that a police officer would pull them over and give her a ticket if the kids weren't buckled in. "I explained that in order to pay for the tickets, we'd have to use the 'fun money' that we usually reserve for going to the movies or for ice cream," Bosch says. "Now when we get in the car and I say, 'Click it or ticket?' they know what's at stake and they buckle right up."
Originally published in the September 2011 issue of Parents magazine.
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