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Family upset about child’s restraint at dentist office

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CARROLLTON, Ga. – A family near Atlanta is upset at their family dentist because their 5-year-old was restrained.  The device is legal, but the family thinks that should change.

James Crow showed WSB-TV a picture of his 5-year-old daughter Elizabeth restrained in what’s called a papoose board at Smiles R Us in Carrollton.

“We was sitting out in the waiting room and all of a sudden .. we heard somebody screaming,” said Evelyn Crow, Elizabeth’s grandmother.

James and his mother say they weren’t allowed into the exam room, but after his daughter started screaming, during the tooth pulling procedure he went back to find her like this.

“I couldn’t see my kid in the body bag just strapped down to the bed,” said James.  “I couldn’t handle it.”

“It was awful to see her tied down like that. It hurt me,” said Evelyn Crow.

On Tuesday, the office told WSB-TV that parents always sign consent forms before they use the restraint, but the Crows say they never remember being notified.

“I said what in the world are you all doing to her .. why is she strapped down? She don’t want to cooperate.. what do you mean she don’t want to cooperate she’s only five years old.”

According to records, a dentist by the name of Dr. Chang runs the place.  WSB went to both of her offices in Carrollton and Villa Rica on Wednesday and found them closed.  While the devices are legal, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry warns the restraint devices “may lead to potential serious consequences, such as physical or psychological harm.”

“I think they should make a law for dentists not to restrain children like that,” said Evelyn Crow, the grandmother.

The dentist in this case has no listed disciplinary actions against her and has not commented on this incident.