What are DistrACTION Cards?
"Brilliant! My kids LOVE the DistrACTION Cards! I now carry them in my purse everywhere. They never get old -- this product is awesome!" Heather B, "Living on Love and Cents"
What is 10 minutes of calm worth to you?
DistrACTION cards(R) are 5 cards on a ring with related counting and finding questions on the back. New research proves that the disarmingly simple questions are effective enough at distracting to significantly reduce pain from medical procedures. DistrACTION from tantrums or boredom is a cinch! How many stars do you see? Can you find an astronaut? Which cow has a plunger on its head? DistrACTION cards are a quick and handy way for nurses, teachers, doctors or parents to break a behavior spiral or take someone's mind off a painful procedure. Even if the painful procedure is a 2 1/2 hour junior high music recital in a gym (true story. See picture.) The kind of distraction on our cards are proven to decrease pain by 50%, but having the tools close at hand right when you need them can be tough. DistrACTION cards are are durable enough to tuck in a parent's pack or wear on a badge at work as a quick boredom buster, pain reliever, or emergency entertainment tantrum tamer.
"I can't believe it. During a two hour recital sitting on the gym floor he was still the whole time. These are amazing - what iPhone app can do that?" - Sharon, mom of 3
To understand why DistrACTION cards work for pain as well as boredom, you first need to understand the nature of medical anxiety or distress. As seen in this diagram, distress is where pain, fear of the procedure, and attention to what's going on collide. Often you can control most of the pain in a procedure, but if a person is focused on what is happening and utterly terrified, no degree of pain relief will help. When a child loses control, their focus is everywhere: brightly colored items are quickly identified as a potential toy and something that is safe. When an adult asks a question from the back, focusing on this friendly challenge in a small space helps them regain control, to EVERYONE's relief.
Distraction can decrease pain by up to 50%. Studies have looked at video games, television, and looking at pictures. Playing a game works better than passively checking something out, but the game needs to be fast and reinforcing. This is why children's hospitals provide options such as video games, books, and specialists called Child Life professionals trained to pull attention away in age appropriate manners.
Seriously - This child has just has a chest tube removed, but is coping beautifully thanks to some intense distraction. Since we can't always whip a SuperMario out of our back pockets, DistrACTION cards provide a lightweight, age-stratified way to entertain and pull attention away from pain. There are several ways to use the cards. For one, carry them on a badge and offer the cards to a well-meaning helper. Instead of calling attention TO the pain (asking "Does that hurt? Does that hurt?"), it's better to focus AWAY. Asking "How many monkeys are actually touching the bed?" makes the focus entirely different. We show a DistrACTION poster here, but you get the idea. Maybe you can even figure out how many monkeys there are...
"I have 4 accident prone kids. I love to keep a set of these in my first aid kit to keep them DistrACTED while I pull splinters out or pick cactus thorns." - Kasee R.
DistrACTION Cards come in four different sets, with our "Monkeys" set also available in Spanish. The questions on the back are color coded by age-appropriate sections, and each set includes a red-black-white picture to help visually distract infants whose eyesight isn't yet developed. In Dr. Amy's practice, DistrACTION cards have helped autistic kids focus away from what they're scared of, and are great for injections of lidocaine or calming a child in a screaming trance long after the IV is in. Start with "Hey! I have a really important question! Can you find a purple cow?" Once engaged, pass the cards off to a parent or friend and get on with taking care of business.
Since Buzzy only blocks sharp sensations, not light touch, an already freaked out person may still be distressed with dull pokes. DistrACTION cards can distract from the event, giving a welcome escape to a brightly colored place. DistrACTION cards can be placed in Buzzy's slot, which is better if a two-handed procedure makes it hard for one person to show and read at the same time. Otherwise, if someone feels more in control watching, let them watch!