LAS VEGAS — A few simple steps can help clinicians create a more pediatric friendly environment, according to a presentation at the Hanger Education Fair and National Meeting, here.

The office lobby should be inviting and comfortable, with bright lighting and warm colors, according to Brian Becker, CO, Hanger Clinic. Treatment rooms can include theme and pastel colors, and exam tables should be low to the ground to accommodate children.

“Put yourself in the kid’s shoes,” Becker said. “Obviously they feel overwhelmed, so when you are setting up your office, do everything you can to make them feel comfortable.”

Becker uses the acronym SOFTEN — smile, open posture, forward lean, touch, eye contact and nod — to reinforce simple, but important aspects of dealing with a pediatric population. And according to Becker, appropriate communication is the most important aspect of working with children. Clinicians should be mindful of the child’s age and cognition, communicate directly with the child as much as possible and simplify any technical jargon so the child feels engaged and included in the treatment process.

Becker B. Setting up a pediatric friendly practice. Presented at The Hanger Education Fair and National Meeting; Feb.5-7, 2013; Las Vegas.

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