Injured teddy bears were lined up at Lee Avenue Elementary School in Hicksville yesterday, with kindergarteners taking on the roles of doctors and nurses to treat the injuries. Slings were made, cuts tended to, and teddy bear pulses 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 were asked to bring in their favorite teddy bear or other stuffed animal, with NYU Winthrop providing equipment for the students to dress up as doctors and nurses. NYU Winthrop trauma nurses assisted students in treating the injured bears, and they were aided by Adelphi University nursing students. Similar Teddy Bear Clinics will be held at elementary schools in Freeport and North Merrick next week.
“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.”
Added Stephanie Stam, Principal of Lee Avenue School, “It’s so important to impart to young students knowledge that will help keep them safe outside the classroom and prevent injuries, but if emergency medical situations arise, we also want children to have awareness as to what happens next. It’s wonderful that we are able to bring to children hands-on experience in the medical world.”
Presentations educated 75 children in total. Among the lessons taught:
- Whose job is it to keep our bodies safe? (Ourselves!)
- What’s the first thing we do when we get in the car? (Buckle up!)
- Where’s the safest place for kids to sit in the car? (In the back!)
- How do we protect our brains? (Wear a helmet!)
- What’s the number to call in an emergency? (911)
NYU Winthrop nurses also explained their roles as nurses and helped the children learn about different medical instruments. Students also 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 nonprofit organization, road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the U.S., 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.
Added NYU Winthrop’s Berghorn, “The majority of trauma injuries are preventable if children and their parents take basic precautions, stay alert and follow public safety rules.”
Similar Teddy Bear Clinics will be held at elementary schools in Freeport and North Merrick next week.
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.