Spacer inhalation with babies & toddlers: How it works

Parents should always use an inhalation chamber known as a spacer or holding chamber if their baby or toddler has to inhale with an asthma spray or metered-dose inhaler. This is the only way it can reach the bronchial tubes and have the desired effect. This also makes it less likely that the child will have any unpleasant side effects from the spray.

Spacer for babies and toddlers

The VORTEX® holding chamber from PARI is a high-quality spacer for babies and toddlers. “The VORTEX® is easy to use. It is a practical size, can be used with one hand and fits masks for children of any age. The spacer is also easy to clean and disinfect”, explains paediatric pneumologist Dr Franziska Stieglitz, listing the advantages of the VORTEX®.

Suitable for children aged 0 to 2 years

The one-handed operation aid mentioned above is a lever that is attached to the inhalation chamber. This allows parents to hold the spacer with one hand and to trigger the spray at the same time. That leaves a hand free to hold the child. The Ladybug baby mask is also supplied with the VORTEX® holding chamber, which is specially adapted for spacer inhalation with babies and toddlers up to the age of two years.

Spacer inhalation for babies and toddlers with the VORTEX®: Step-by-step instructions

This quick guide will show you how to inhale properly with your baby or toddler and how to use the VORTEX® Spacer.

Please note the following before the inhalation:

  • The inhalation chamber should only be used by one child and should not be shared with others.
  • For hygiene reasons, the spacer must be dry for the inhalation (to avoid germs).
  • For hygiene reasons, it is also important to replace the spacer after a year of regular use.
  • If you are using a holding chamber of this kind with your baby or toddler for the first time, please carefully read through the VORTEX® instructions for use (PDF).

Step 1: Prepare the spacer – Connecting the one-handed operation aid and baby mask

  • Push the one-handed operation aid onto the inhalation chamber from the back.
  • Remove the protective cap from the mouthpiece of the spacer.
  • Fit the Ladybug baby mask onto the mouthpiece.
  • Demonstrate the inhalation to your child (without actually breathing into the spacer) or show them using a doll or soft toy.

Step 2: Prepare the metered-dose inhaler – Shake the spray and insert in the spacer

  • Remove the spray cap.
  • Shake the spray rigorously.
  • Fit the spray into the blue connection ring on the inhalation chamber.
  • Position the one-handed operation aid so that the fastening element locks in place over the spray. To do this, you may have to push the one-handed operation aid further forwards or backwards.

Step 3: Inhalation with several breaths

  • Put your baby or toddler on your lap, holding them firmly with your hand.
  • Pick up the prepared spacer and place the mask on your child gently but so that it sits tight over the child’s nose and mouth.
  • Press the spray. Your child should now breathe in the medication deeply and slowly over several breaths. The child breathes in and out through the spacer.
  • Watch and count how many breaths your child takes. You can see this clearly by watching the exhalation valve move.
  • Children aged 18 months and over should inhale for two to four breaths.

CAUTION: If the doctor has prescribed several puffs, spray again and allow your child to inhale again as in step 3.

It is very important that you do not spray the prescribed puffs directly after each other in a single hit, but to spray, allow the child to inhale and only then spray again.

Step 4: Clean the spacer

For optimum hygiene, you should clean your baby’s or toddler’s inhalation chamber regularly and disinfect as necessary. We have instructions on cleaning and disinfecting the VORTEX® holding chamber.

Extra tips

  1. Demonstrate the inhalation to your baby or toddler without actually breathing into the spacer.
  2. You can also explain the inhalation using a doll or a soft toy.
  3. Support your child during the inhalation by guiding them and joining in with the breathing yourself.

Video: VORTEX in the application

When you should use a spacer

Pneumologists recommend inhalation with a spacer for:

  • Babies, toddlers and children up to the age of about six or eight
  • Children with delayed development
  • Children, adolescents and adults with poor lung function and reduced inhalation effort
  • People who develop side effects from spray inhalation – such as throat irritation, swallowing difficulties, cough and fungal infections (thrush) in the mouth or throat or hoarseness. The use of a spacer tends to limit or completely eliminate these side effects.
  • People who have coordination difficulties when using metered-dose inhalers

One major benefit of the VORTEX® spacer is that it can be used for all age groups. Different masks or a mouthpiece are used depending on age.

The following models are available:

  • VORTEX® with Ladybug baby mask and one-handed operation aid: 0 to 2 years
  • VORTEX® with Frog child mask: 2 to 4 years
  • VORTEX® with mouthpiece: from 4 years
  • VORTEX® with adult mask and one-handed operation aid

Depending on your location, you can buy VORTEX® in pharmacies or online shops.

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An article written by the PARI BLOG editorial team.

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