Dazzle Daze features special Teddy Bear Clinic

As we move into the season of sneezes, parents will be challenged with convincing their children that those people in scrubs are really not the boogie man.

Scared children are not that hard to find in a typical doctor’s office as little ones tend to associate the clinic with needles and shots and being poked and prodded. According to Meghan Mallett, an advanced practice registered nurse with the Conway Regional Medical Clinic-Prince Street, that does not have to be the case.

“The challenge is turning a scary place into a friendly one,” she said. “That’s what we try to do with the Teddy Bear Clinics.” Mallett and others are planning to use fun, dressing up and, yes, teddy bears to help children get over the fear of doctors’ offices during Dazzle Dazesm again this year.

This is the second year for the Teddy Bear Clinic to be included in Dazzle Daze as an outreach effort for young children. Hours this year are from 10 a.m. to noon and 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 18. Parents are encouraged to bring a teddy bear or another favorite stuffed animal along with their child to the event. Additional bears are available for a $5 donation.

During the event, children get dressed up with scrub hats, shoe covers and mouth covers. They receive toy stethoscopes and the providers let them listen to their own hearts or their parents’ hearts beating.

“It’s just a fun way of creating a pleasant health care-like environment for the kids,” said Mallett. “They have fun and hopefully walk away feeling better about their next trip to the doctor’s office.”

Mallett’s first teddy bear experience was as a student in a health care class at the University of Central Arkansas. “It was fun, helping with the clinic at UCA, and it made me think about what else might be possible,” she said.

Mallett advises that parents can also take action to prepare their kids for a doctor’s visit.

  • Role playing with doctor kits at home can be beneficial. 
  • Watch television shows like Doc McStuffins that portray a doctor’s office as a place to go to get well.
  • Bring a stuffed animal on the clinic visit.
  • If going to the clinic for a sick child visit, parents can role play with a tongue depressor to prepare their child for the visit.
  • Sometimes, the nurse or physician can listen to the mom’s or dad’s heartbeat first or look into their ears to help prepare the child for their own exam.   
  • The provider can also help by letting the child touch the stethoscope and tongue depressor to make the exam less scary.
  • Sometimes a provider can demonstrate the procedure using the child’s stuffed animal.

For more information on Dazzle Daze, visit dazzledaze.com.