NEWS | February 23, 2016

New VECTA machine at UC Davis Children's Hospital

Sensory and distraction station helps pediatric patients cope during procedures


Patients often have routine procedures done while they are admitted in the hospital, including blood draws, IV placement or drain removal. Pediatric patients, however, might be afraid of needles or have difficulty sitting still. That’s where Bubbles comes in.

Bubbles is the new name of the VECTA multisensory machine that UC Davis Children’s Hospital recently acquired to help promote positive coping during procedures. It was purchased through a grant from the Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital recently acquired a VECTA multisensory machine to help promote positive coping during procedures. The UC Davis Children’s Miracle Network purchased the VECTA station with donated funds and UC Davis Children’s Hospital pediatric staff took a vote to name the machine. The winning moniker? Bubbles.

VECTA targets multiple senses with music, lights, a bubble column, projector and fiber optic tubes. The machine is designed for individualized treatment.

“Some patients might need really soothing music, while others might want to listen to Disney songs and focus on singing,” said Amanda Trapp, child life specialist at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

While Bubbles is still new to UC Davis Children’s Hospital, patients, parents and staff alike have all shared their positive experiences with VECTA.

“[My son is] not feeling good. He’s very medicated. He’s in a lot of pain and it made him smile,” said Devon Crawford. Crawford’s 4-year-old son, Jaxon, is a patient recovering from eye surgery. Immediately following the surgery, he needed to lie on his back for 24 hours to maintain the correct pressure in his eyes.

“As soon as we turned on the music and he saw the bubbles, it caught his attention,” said Crawford. “It was amazing to see him light up, for him not feeling so well.”

The bubble column also allows caregivers to determine the appropriate amount of stimulation for the patient. There are different patterns to the bubbles – ranging from quick, small bursts to a slower flow, like a lava lamp. Kids can hold a controller to stop and start the bubbles with a push of a button, as well as choose which colors to display.

“VECTA provides a sense of control and distraction for our patients that they otherwise might not have in this situation,” Trapp said.

While the station is primarily used during procedures, it’s also comforting for children with specific sensory needs.

“It’s just another tool we’re able to employ to provide the best service and care for our patients,” said Trapp.

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital for children, serving infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and Level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for critically ill children. The 120-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. With more than 120 physicians in more than 30 subspecialties, UC Davis Children's Hospital has more than 74,000 clinic and hospital visits and 13,000 emergency department visits each year. For more information, visit