Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teddy bear 'emergency room' helps ease children's fears

SPRING HILL — About 300 Spring Hill Elementary School kindergarten and first-grade children recently went to the school's media center clutching teddy bears that suffered from a wide variety of imagined miseries.

Inside, the children met with Spring Hill Regional Medical Center volunteers who were working with the school to help curb the natural fears children have of hospitals.

"We set up a mock emergency room in our media center," said community service teacher Karen (Mancuso) Charlton.

The children were invited to bring their favorite teddy bears to school for treatment. Each bear received a hospital identification bracelet, and each child approached a person at the temporary emergency room's admission to describe what was wrong with his or her bear.

"Even our principal, Marvin Gordon, came in with a teddy bear," Charlton said. The joke was that the poor thing had been trampled by Spring Hill students and ended up bandaged from head to toe, she explained.

Some of the ailments afflicting the bears were within the ordinary: sore throats and tonsils, headaches or broken limbs. But Charlton was surprised when one child said her poor bear had been attacked by a hammerhead shark.

Each bear was weighed, had its temperature taken and was patched up by nurses using oxygen masks, bandages or whatever was needed. As the children and their treated toys were ready to leave the pseudo-hospital, they were given juice and snacks.

"The nurses were so excited that they want to do it again," Charlton said. And the experience already has inspired one young child to study medicine.

Since part of Charlton's community service curriculum is to show appreciation and manners, the children wrote thank-you letters with teddy bear drawings for the visitors. Charlton said the pictures would be hung around the hospital.

Teddy bear 'emergency room' helps ease children's fears 04/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 17, 2008 9:49am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two Kissimmee police officers killed; Jacksonville officers shot


    KISSIMMEE — Two Kissimmee police officers were shot and killed Friday night, and one person was taken into custody, authorities said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of
  2. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  4. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.
  5. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body.