How to Give Your Child a Saline Enema
A saline enema is used to rinse stool from
the colon. It is given to treat constipation or
to prepare the colon for certain tests.
ξ The fluid should be body
temperature before you give it. Do
not warm the fluid in the microwave.
You can run the bottle of fluid under
warm water to warm it up.
ξ Distract your child before and after
giving the enema. You can try
reading to him, playing music, or
rubbing his back. Video games can
help keep your child distracted.
ξ Some parents may be anxious when
they have to give an enema. This is
a normal feeling. If you are feeling
anxious about giving the enema, this
may make your child feel more
anxious. Use a calm, neutral
approach when giving the enema.
Keep in mind it is medicine that your
ξ Explain to your child that you are
giving the enema to make him feel
better. Show him the tip and allow
him to touch it. Rub the tip against
his arm to show what the tip of the
enema will feel like when you insert
ξ Find a comfortable place to do the
enema. Some parents prefer the
bathroom floor because the toilet is
right there. Others prefer to do this
in the living room or bedroom. You
may wish to protect the floor with
How to Give a Saline Enema
1. Wash your hands.
2. Check to be sure the temperature of
the enema is about body temperature.
3. Clamp the tubing that is connected to
the enema bag.
4. Measure __________ ml of saline
solution and put it in the enema bag.
5. Keep the enema tip lower than the
enema bag. Unclamp the tubing.
The saline solution will go through
the tubing. When the solution comes
out of the tip, clamp the tubing. It is
okay if some air stays in the tubing.
6. Tell your child what you are going to
7. Have your child lay on his left side
with his knees tucked up to his chest.
If your child is more comfortable
bending only his right knee to his
chest, and keeping his left leg
straight, that is okay.
8. Put a little lubricant on the tip of the
tubing. You can use KY® jelly or
Surgilue. Do not use Vaseline®.
9. Gently put the enema tip into your
child’s rectum. Put it in about 1 ½ to
3 inches, depending on the size of
10. Unclamp the tube.
11. Raise the bag up a little so the fluid
will go into the rectum. Do not raise
the bag more than 18 inches about
your child. If the fluid leaks out his
rectum, clamp the tubing for a
minute, then open the clamp again.
If there is still some leaking, lower
the bag a little so the fluid goes in
slower. You may need to squeeze
his buttocks together to prevent
*Raising the bag makes the fluid go in
faster. Lowering the bag makes the fluid
go in slower.
12. If your child has cramps or pain,
clamp the tubing for a minute. Open
the clamp again when the cramping
stops. If the cramping continues,
lower the bag so the fluid goes
13. When the bag is empty, clamp the
tubing and remove it from your
14. Have your child hold the enema in
for 15 minutes. Have him stay on
his left side. Distraction is usually
needed at this time to help him hold
the enema in. If your child feels the
urge to pass the stool before the
desired time, have him take deep
breaths in and out, as though he were
blowing out birthday candles. This
will help him relax and lessen the
urge to pass the stool.
15. You may need to hold his buttocks
together if it is hard for him to hold
the enema in.
16. After 15 minutes, have your child sit
on the toilet to let the enema out.
If you have questions, call your clinic
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 3/2017 University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7611