National Teddy Bear Day

Teddy Bear Clinic

Photo: Juan Pulido Children’s Medical Center DallasPhoto: Juan Pulido
Children’s Medical Center Dallas

Evan is shown an X-ray of his teddy bear by a child life team member at the teddy bear clinic at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. The teddy bear clinic provides an opportunity for pediatric patients to step out of their role as a patient and become a caregiver. Each child is given a teddy bear and, in their caregiver role, names the bear and decides on a diagnosis. The bear then moves through each treatment station: registration, IV placement, X-Ray and surgery.

This therapeutic activity provides a positive healthcare experience. The bear often serves as an outlet for patients to express their feelings or concerns regarding the bear’s care, or their own. Its impact is far-reaching, increasing a child’s confidence and assisting with coping skills.

Paws on Experience

Photo: Allyn DiVito
Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital; St. Petersburg, Florida

When 170 kindergarteners from two local Title 1 schools descended upon Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, they were ready for a hands-on, or “paws on,” exercise in health care.

“Our intention was to provide a safe place to explore and learn about hospitalization in the way that children learn the best—through play,” says Kate Loguercio, a teacher at the hospital. “Our teddy bear event gives children the opportunity to feel more empowered and less frightened when they need medical intervention.”

Clinicians, fortified with some 30 volunteers, have the children don gowns, gloves and masks to guide their teddy bear patient through a hospital experience, complete with IVs and injections, showing that they aren’t so scary after all. The event helps kids become familiar with medical equipment and resolve common misconceptions about the health care environment.

Paging Dr. Berkley

Photo: Joseph M. Cascio
John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital; Buffalo, New York

While in the hospital, 2-year-old Berkley enjoyed playing doctor for a day with a stuffed animal, accompanied by Molly, a child life specialist in the pediatric intensive care unit at Oishei Children’s Hospital. Medical play with his bear gave Berkley a sense of understanding and control over his hospital stay and helped alleviate worries.

Child life specialists are passionate advocates of frequent family visits and involving the entire family in the care of a loved one. At Oishei Children’s Hospital, they work closely with nurses and doctors to incorporate play and educational programming into a patient’s healthcare experience. The goal is to ensure the emotional stability and healthy development of hospitalized children through play, creative arts, social interactions and other activities to mitigate the fear, discomfort and anxiety often associated with medical treatment.


To view more photos visit Children’s Hospitals Photo Exhibit.

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