Paramedics give stuffed animals to children in times of trauma - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Paramedics give stuffed animals to children in times of trauma

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Experiencing a traumatic event or an injury of any kind can be one of the worst times in a child's life.  A Spokane woman posted to Facebook saying she was so grateful to a paramedic for helping her child calm down by giving her daughter not one, but two stuffed animals. She wrote, “I'm sure those stuffed animals are there for a reason.” It made a difference in their lives that day.

Turns out, paramedics drive with stuffed animals for those specific reasons.

“When we see children, it's always in a traumatic event. We try to get them more comfortable," said Tammie Drapeau, Clinical Manager for AMR. Drapeau has been a paramedic for 24 years.  She says in the back of each ambulance, you'll see stuffed animals tucked away in a safe place. "It's just enough to be in the child's hands so they can hold onto it and feel comforted by the soft fur,” she said.

There are anywhere from two stuffed animals to eight of them in the back of an ambulance, wrapped up in plastic individually, so they are kept clean and new for a child. The animals may seem small. “When we do see them, sometimes children are a little reluctant to talk,” she said. However, giving a child one of them can help bring a smile to their face during any kind of situation. “They usually open up very much.  It's actually the reaction that we get from a child that makes us feel like we've done something to comfort them," said Drapeau.

All the stuffed animals are donated from different organizations like non-profits. They are donated to AMR, the fire department and to law enforcement. Hospitals normally have extras too.

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