Teddy bear clinic teaches local kindergarteners about injury prevention
Injured teddy bears were lined up at Searingtown Elementary School in Albertson recently as kindergarteners took on the roles of doctors and nurses to treat the injuries. Slings were made, cuts tended to and teddy bear pulses were checked. It was all part of a free “Teddy Bear Clinic” orchestrated by NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Trauma Center to teach young members of the community about injury prevention, treatment, and to educate them on the medical profession. The children brought in their favorite teddy bear or other stuffed animal, with NYU Winthrop providing equipment for the students to dress up as doctors and nurses. Adelphi University nursing students pitched in, dressed in scrubs and with stethoscopes to assist in treating the injured bears.
“We teach children how to take safety into their own hands such as by wearing bike helmets, seat belts and stopping at stop signs,” said Ellen Berghorn, RN, who heads NYU Winthrop’s Pediatric Injury Prevention Program. “We also teach students that the medical world is really not so scary, and the children’s hands-on experience treating injured bears helps bring that to light.”
This is the second year the program was put on at Searingtown Elementary School, brought back by popular demand. Presentations were held for four different classes, educating about 80 children in total.
“This program is an excellent way to help young children be comfortable in emergency situations,” said Robert Neufeld, Principal of Searingtown Elementary School. “Making preparations to prevent injuries and to promote well-being as a normal activity and part of life are such valuable experiences for children.”
Members of Adelphi University Student Nurses Association explained their roles as nurses and helped the children learn about different medical instruments. Students went home armed with flyers providing tips for parents to keep children safe, including the proper safety belt fit.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a non-profit organization, road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the US, but child safety seats, correctly used, can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related deaths for children ages 5 to 19, with teens particularly at risk. Safe Kids Worldwide emphasizes the need for children of all ages to put down phones and take off headphones when crossing the street.
“The majority of trauma injuries are preventable if children and their parents take basic precautions, stay alert and follow public safety rules,” said Berghorn.
NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Trauma Injury Prevention and Outreach Program is dedicated to reducing the number of preventable injuries through research, training and public education. The hospital works throughout the year with local communities to spread awareness about safety-related issues and advocate for policies to improve the safety of Long Islanders.
For more safety tips, visit www.winthrop.org/trauma-injury-prevention-and-outreach.
—Submitted by NYU Winthrop Hospital