Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.Learn More
Heat can help relieve your child’s pain. It can also help loosen stiff joints and relax your child.
The care team may provide heat treatment at the hospital. You can also use it at home
It is important to give heat treatment safely, or you can burn your child.
If your child wears a medication patch, they should not have heat treatment. The heat can make the patch release too much medication into your child’s bloodstream. This could cause a drug overdose, which is very dangerous.
Here are some ways when your child might receive heat treatment in the hospital:
Do not use an electric home heating pad or microwave gel pad in the hospital. Please talk to your care team if you have questions.
The nurse will examine your child before giving a heat treatment. The nurse will check for:
Your child should not have heat treatment in certain areas.
A nurse or other care team member will cover the heat pack or heat pad with a pillowcase before putting it on your child. This helps prevent burns.
Heat should never go directly on the skin. Your child should never lie directly on the heat. Air should always flow around your child’s body and the heat pack or heat pad.
After putting on the heat pack or pad, the nurse will check your child’s skin every 15 minutes. They will take the heat off after 30 minutes. When your child’s skin is cool, the nurse will put the heat back on.
The care team only gives heat treatment while your child is awake. Your child will not receive heat treatment if they are sleeping or took certain medications. If heat helps your child’s pain, the nurse can use it again when your child wakes up.
Only a care team member should give heat treatment. Do not use a heat pack or pad on your child without talking to the nurse first. Doing it by yourself raises the risk of burning your child.
Be very careful when you give heat treatment at home. Your child’s care team can tell you what type of heat pack is safe.
You can easily burn your child with most common heat treatment items. Avoid using electric heating pads, microwaved wraps, or cloths soaked in hot water. You have a high risk of burning your child. These items do not give controlled heat and easily get too hot.
Please give heat treatment at home the same way your child’s nurse gave it in the hospital. Do everything on the list below to use heat safely.
Doing these things will help you relieve your child’s pain while keeping them safe.
Reviewed: August 2022