Teddy bear clinic at Children’s Mercy helps kids overcome fears

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Children’s Mercy hospital is celebrating Child Life Week with a teddy bear clinic. The clinic provides a chance for patients to understand the tests and tools used on them by using them on their bears.

“It’s an awesome idea,” said Hannah Buttaccio, a patient.

“They'll visit our doctor, be able to see he's a real person, not somebody that’s scary, they'll be able to manipulate an IV we have a child life specialist that will help them give their bear an IV,” said Trista Williams, the Child Life Program coordinator.

Williams says any patient who is able is welcome; they're greeted with a donated teddy bear and go from station to station.

“They come in, get their teddy bear triaged, they get their teddy bear weighed, and then they take their teddy bear through different stations that they may see as a patient,” added Williams. “The purpose of doing this is so children can be comfortable with those different areas in the hospital.”

Some of the patients’ parents say it's wonderful to have a hands-on activity for kids to feel comfortable in the hospital.

“I think it's great, it really helps the kids get a good idea as to what’s going on, and the different areas of what they do and to help them understand it better,” says Anne Butters, a parent.

Parents are also welcome to join.

“I do not know a lot of stuff that I thought I knew, and I learn something new every time I come in,” Butters added.

And the patients say it makes them less nervous to watch the bear go first.

“I like seeing it before it happens to me,” Buttaccio said.

“It relieves the anticipation and anxiety,” said Butters.

The idea is to help with misconceptions, as so many things happen to kids in the hospital that they just aren't familiar with.

“It doesn't seem so scary,” added Williams.

Each patient got to go home with their very own bear.