A medical student helps a child treat his "sick" teddy bear during the 2013 Teddy Bear Clinic at Charite Hospital in Berlin, Germany. A medical student helps a child treat his "sick" teddy bear during the 2013 Teddy Bear Clinic at Charite Hospital in Berlin, Germany. A medical student helps a child treat his "sick" teddy bear during the 2013 Teddy Bear Clinic at Charite Hospital in Berlin, Germany. (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Teddy bears help kids overcome fear of the doctor

The Teddy Bear Hospital project proves that teddy bears aren't just for cuddling; they're for teaching, too.

Teddy bears have been providing comfort and joy to kids all over the world for nearly 100 years, and that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon.

But now, thanks to medical students like the ones at  Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, Israel, teddy bears are also helping kids alleviate their fears of going to the doctor.

The Teddy Bear Hospital project (not to be confused with the many teddy bear "hospitals" that mend damaged teddy bears) aims to teach children what happens when they visit the hospital or go for a check-up at the doctor's office. Every year, hundreds of children bring their "sick" teddies to the hospital to be examined by doctors. 

Teddy Bear Hospital at Soroka Medical Center in Israel. (Photo: Soroka Medical Center/Flickr)

Medical students, dressed in typical white doctor's coats with stethoscopes hanging from their necks, examine the children's teddy bears to find (and help cure) their ailments, all while the kids get a firsthand look at how a doctor or hospital visit goes. It's a way to rid them of their anxiety about doctors and illness by letting their teddy bears experience the medical treatment first. Many medical schools and hospitals - such as Albany Medical Center in New York and Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri - have designated a special Teddy Bear Hospital day, as seen in these photo tweets from around the globe:

https://twitter.com/goodnews/status/448466983018037248 

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