When we first saw this viral pic of a baby seemingly squashed into some strange 70s machinery, we thought it must be another internet fake.
Then we discovered that this contraption is called a Pigg-O-Stat, and not only is it real, it’s also still in use.
So what is it?
It’s actually a medical device designed to hold a baby or small child completely still and in position while they have an x-ray. The manufacturer’s site describes the Pigg-O-Stat as “safely securing the child and allowing the x-ray technician to be brief and efficient while the child remains immobilized”.
So why on earth would you need to put a child in such a tight restraint during an x-ray? The US National Library of Medicine puts it simply: “In order to get clear test results on an x-ray, there cannot be any movement.”
How did it go viral?
It all started when the picture was posted on imgur.com. It’s had more than 3 million views and plenty of comments and a lot of less-than-tasteful jokes, OK, and some funny ones.
Canofminus commented, “Hide away this picture, and when they are 8 tell them ‘We had you custom made in the factory’ and use this picture as proof.”
Of course for parents concerned (and babies), this isn’t a laughing matter.
One commenter, Fluger, has seen it for real: “Awww, our daughter had this done to her a while back. She was NOT this calm.”
WhiteInAlaska added, “I’m an x-Ray tech! Can confirm; 99% of both babies and parents hate when this is used, even though it’s painless and gets great results!”
A few other users knew all about the rather unusual piece of equipment.
Thatsagoodbid commented: “Seriously. Xray tech here. It really does a great job – gets better xrays, too.”
Parents against Pigg-O-Stat
The Pigg-O-Stat has even had its own protest march. Parents in a small town in North Carolina protested against the device in 2000, after their baby was put in one prior to an x-ray. Lynn and David Church believe they are unsafe and took to the streets with hand-made placards after their son was allegedly injured. “We’re not looking for money, just for them to stop using this machine,” said Lynn.
But nurse EyesSoSlim13 explains why she believes it’s important. “Babies and toddlers won’t stay still. I am a nurse, believe me, its uncomfortable for them but necessary. Like smashing a boob for a mammogram…a little pain to make sure everything is OK.”