Deirdre Goe, a member of the Child Life team at California Pacific Medical Center, is hosting a free Teddy Bear Clinic today to teach children about medical care.
Where did this idea originate? In the Child Life department, we do activities like this every day to help children understand what goes on in the hospital. We do a lot of playing like using medical equipment on dolls to show kids what they are going to experience. We’re just doing what we do on a daily basis, but on a much larger scale.
What’s the purpose? Through this clinic, we want to normalize the hospital experience using play. We want them to have a nonthreatening and fun experience like this before they have to do the real thing.
What will happen in the clinic? Kids have the opportunity to play with toy X-rays, CT scans, the anesthesia cart and syringes. This clinic will help children process what’s going on and be a participant rather than just having it done to them.
Why is this important? We hope that this will help prepare children so they aren’t afraid of going to the hospital in the future. This will also help kids with phobias, especially with needles. They can give shots to a teddy bear with a real syringe or a toy syringe so they can work through what it’s like to get immunizations or insulin shots.