Mask play familiarizes children with anaesthetic induction, and equipment used in the procedure.
Your child will learn the mask does not hurt, and will master the different steps of the process, giving him more confidence and reducing anxiety.
Preparation varies for different age groups.
Use the tips below in regular playful activity to support your child’s learning and preparation for regular EUAs and other surgical procedures.
Sensitize your infant to the mask by gently placing it over his nose and mouth, while you relax together in a comfortable position. Count up to 10 or sing a song to demonstrate the length of time the mask will be on his face.
Older babies are naturally curious and want to play with everything. Allow your baby to safely explore the mask through supervised play. Play will most likely include banging, throwing, biting and squeezing the mask.
Babies like to mimic parents’ actions. When your child is familiar with how the mask feels, show him its correct use by putting it on your face. Say aloud “mask on Daddy’s face”, “put on”, “over Mommy’s nose and mouth” to explain your actions.
Repeat this several times to ensure your baby understands the action. Then gently place the mask on his face. Pass the mask back to him and encourage him to copy you. Say aloud “Your turn, put on”, “Nose and mouth”, “Mask on (Baby’s Name)”.
As your baby masters this action, add another element to your play – taking a deep breath and blowing out. Older babies should be able to mimic this action, while younger infants may need time to coordinate the breathing/blowing action.
As a final step in your mask play, count to 10 while the mask is over your baby’s face. Alternatively, sing a short song of similar length to help your child prepare for the length of time the mask is in place during anaesthetic induction.
18 Months to 2.5 Years
Toddlers typically want to do things “their way” or not at all. Many like to show how they have mastered a specific skill, and look forward to receiving praise for this.
Set your toddler up for success by incorporating mask play into normal playtime. Practice placing the mask on Mommy or Daddy’s face, then on his own face. Taking turns is fun for a toddler, so be prepared to practice many times.
Use simple language to label and explain each step. Include holding over the nose and mouth, breathing in and out and counting to 10. When you toddler completes all the steps, praise him loudly, sharing hugs and positive attention.
Make Mask Play Fun
If you feel your child may be anxious on procedure day, ask the hospital what pre-sedation medications they can give to help him relax. Ask how this will be given, and practice the method with your child through play.
If the medicine will be given orally (usually with a syringe), practice giving your child juice with a medication syringe. If an injection is to be used, practice positions for comfort and select the one you both feel most comfortable with for receiving an injection.