Teddy Bear Clinics

What's a Teddy Bear Clinic?

It's a genius idea to get kids familiar with their local hospital.

Many kids with asthma go to the hospital now and then

Usually a trip to the hospital comes as a surprise. My two youngest kids have been hospitalized 14 times, and 12 of those were for asthma. Each time it was a shock! Kids have a habit of getting really sick, really fast (and it seems like they always get worse in the middle of the night).

It's hard enough being in the hospital as an adult, and even more scary for kids.

What is a Teddy Bear Clinic?

A Teddy Bear Clinic is a fun way to introduce kids to the hospital staff. They are a great opportunity for kids to learn how to take their blood pressure and measure oxygen levels. The kids learn what the machines do and how they help the hospital staff take care of patients. They can also watch their teddy bear have an x-ray, see real x-rays of broken bones, and wear a mask and latex gloves just like the doctors and nurses do!

If the kids see the hospital and medical equipment with their teddy bear in a fun way, they might not be as scared if they end up in the hospital with an illness, injury, or sudden surgery.

Teddy Bear Clinics work!

Johns Hopkins Medicine had kids who were participating in a Teddy Bear Clinic help a child mannequin who had a bike accident and wasn't wearing a helmet. The kids were pretty serious about putting on their gloves and mask, helping to hold pressure on the wound, splinting the leg, stabilizing the mannequin's neck, giving him oxygen, and covering him with a blanket. They said the kids were "very enthusiastic" while they were helping.

My kids sadly became experts at getting chest x-rays, having their oxygen level monitored, getting breathing treatments, and knowing how to breathe when the doctor had the "steka-scope" (that's how my daughter would pronounce "stethoscope" when she was 3). It was a scary time for them - and us! It would have been so much easier to learn about the hospital during a Teddy Bear Clinic.

Many hospitals offer Teddy Bear Clinics once a year. Check your local hospital and find out if they offer a clinic. It might be helpful to be prepared - just in case!

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