BOSTON — Parents are becoming more and more concerned with a dental device some say tortures and traumatizes children: the papoose board.
CBS Boston reports that one mom, Debby Barstow, came across the practice in 2009 when her 8-year-old son had a dentist appointment. The appointment took hours, she said, and she eventually forced her way into the exam room.
“And I saw my son tied up completely from head to toe in a straitjacket,” she told CBS Boston.“He was crying with his mouth wired open. It was a horrible nightmare. I was in complete shock that this was even happening to him.”
A papoose board is used to restrain a child’s arms or legs from interfering with their exam or any dental work.
In other cases, CBS Boston reports that a four-year-old girl suffered brain damage from being strapped down. And a 7-year-old boy sustained cuts and bruises.
In Barstow’s case, she contacted the Department of Health over her experience. The dentist was placed on probation.
But pediatric dentist Dr. Steven Perlmanm said that using papoose boards is the “safest form of treatment,” especially for children with behavioral problems or disabilities. Children can also have unexpected side effects of medications and sedation, he said.