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Going into surgery is an intimidating and scary experience for anyone, not just children. But at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California, the staff makes the experience just a little less stressful for kids by letting them drive mini cars into the operating room.
Yep. Little ones have the opportunity to cruise into surgery via either a sleek black Mercedes or a stylish pink Volkswagen Beetle. The cars are appropriate for kids ages 2–7, and the staff finds that the experience helps put everyone’s mind at ease during a critical moment.
“When the children find out they can go into the operating room riding in a cool little car, they light up and in most cases, their fears melt away,” pre-operative nurse Kimberly Martinez, who came up with the idea, told CBS News.
“In addition, when parents see their children put at ease, it puts them at ease as well,” she added.
Check out this adorable little patient as she drives into surgery in the pink Beetle in this video posted to Facebook by Doctors Medical Center:
“With a little passenger in tow, Caroline takes our new pink Beetle for a spin!” reads the caption. “Doctors Medical Center now has two little cars available for our young surgical patients to ride into the operating room. We can see the stress and anxiety melt away when they hop in the car.”
Here’s the other, a mini black Mercedes Benz, also from the Facebook page:
And in case you didn’t catch it, check out the delight on that adorable child’s face:
“It can be traumatizing for a young patient to be peeled away from their parents as they head into surgery,” Martinez said. “This truly helps everyone involved.”
These rides, similar to the ones seen below, have all the bells and whistles, too. They have stereos that kids can control themselves, allowing devices such as MP3 players to be plugged in.
And because this is a hospital, where safety comes first, the cars also have seatbelts, horns and working doors, as well as back-up and dashboard lights.
“These sweet rides take our smallest patients to the operating room,” the hospital said in a statement to People magazine. “The goal is to reduce anxiety and stress, and make the experience less scary for everyone involved.”
It’s stressful for anyone to undergo surgery, let alone a young child who can’t fully comprehend the process that’s about to take place. As KidsHealth.Org states, it’s important to take the time to prepare your child for both a stay in the hospital and any elective surgery.
Providing information at your child’s level of understanding will go a long way towards easing feelings of fear. It will also help if your child becomes familiar with the hospital where they’re staying.
In addition to providing plenty of information and answering as many of your kid’s questions as you can, it’s also important to keep up a positive and upbeat attitude.
After all, children can pick up any stress, fear, or tension that their parents may be feeling.
So anything you can do to lighten the mood — like providing some fun wheels to ride around in, as this hospital did — will help!
We’re so glad that these young patients have these awesome cars to help them face surgery! Hopefully, this idea catches on at hospitals everywhere.