DENVER (CBS4) - Emergency situations can be very frightening for children, and the Teddy Bear Patrol provides stuffed animals to help comfort kids in those situations.
"A teddy bear provides a sense of comfort to kids. It gives them the opportunity to think, 'Hey, maybe this will be okay,'" said Dr. Jeanne Floerke, a pediatric psychologist at Rocky Mountain Pediatric Hospital for Children.
The flashing lights and strangers that they're faced with can be confusing, and children often don't know what to expect when it comes to medical procedures.
"Often what happens is first responders will show kids what's going to be done to them by demonstrating on the teddy bear, so kids find that soothing. They find it helpful," Floerke explained.
First responders carry stuffed animals with them to give to children as young as 2 years old, and even to teens in these high stress situations. The Teddy Bear Patrol collects those new stuffed animals for the first responders.
"Kids, in turn, will often use that in their own play. And through their play, sometimes, they're able to resolve some kinds of trauma that may have been created by that initial experience," Floerke told CBS4.
CBS4 is partnering with KOSI 101 and the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children to collect new stuffed animals for The Teddy Bear Patrol. The program gives a child a friend that can see them through the uncertainty of medical care.
"Often they'll take the teddy bear to the next medical procedure. They may continue to see that as an object that represents something that's soothing and safe," Floerke said.
Last year the Teddy Bear Patrol gave out 4,000 stuffed animals to children and families who just needed a little comfort.
"Often the teddy bear is a soothing object for the entire family, so say the child has to go to surgery, what might happen, is they will hold the teddy bear until the child gets back," Floerke added.
You can help by dropping a new stuffed animal in the donation bins at these Denver metro area locations:
HealthONE (Denver Tech Center)
CBS 4 Studios (Denver)
Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center (near Uptown in Denver)
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (near Uptown in Denver)
Swedish Medical Center (Englewood)
Swedish Southwest ER (Littleton)
The Medical Center of Aurora (Aurora)
Centennial Medical Plaza (Centennial)
North Suburban Medical Center (Thornton)
Northwest ER (Westminster)
Northeast ER (Thornton)
Rose Medical Center (Denver)
Rose Stapleton ER (Stapleton)
Saddle Rock ER (Aurora)
Swedish Belmar ER (Lakewood)
Sky Ridge Medical Center (Lone Tree)
CareNow Urgent Care – Greenwood Village
CareNow Urgent Care – Aurora
CareNow Urgent Care – Highlands Ranch
CareNow Urgent Care – Parker
CareNow Urgent Care – Quincy and Wadsworth (Littleton)
CareNow Urgent Care – Stapleton
CareNow Urgent Care – DU Neighborhood
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