July 10, 2008

Other Toys Welcome at Teddy Bear Clinic

By Loretta Sword, The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.

Jul. 10--Teddy bears aren't just for cuddling. They make good teachers (and hospital patients), too.

That's the theory behind Parkview Medical Center's annual Teddy Bear Clinic, set this year from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 2 at Pueblo Mall.

Children are invited to bring their favorite teddy bear (any stuffed buddy will do) to the free event, which is intended to educate youngsters about safety and injury prevention.

Their stuffed pals will serve as injured "patients" who will undergo a "triage evaluation" by a team of emergency room professionals to help children learn about the most common childhood injuries and their treatments.

Following the discharge of their animals from the triage area, kids will make their way through a variety of health- and safety-related exhibits and presentations spread throughout the mall. The fun will even spill into the parking lot for a bike rodeo. All children who attend the clinic will receive a free bike helmet courtesy of Kiwanis of Pueblo and Ent Credit Union.

The Pueblo Fire Department's Life Safety Bus also will be set up for tours in the parking lot. Drive Smart Pueblo will offer free car-seat safety inspections nearby.

Jana Ortiz-Misiaszek, Parkview's health initiatives coordinator, said this year's clinic will put a new emphasis on CPR basics and scanning toys for lead.

The lead-paint scanning service was prompted by last year's numerous recalls of toys made in China and India that contained lead paint or other sources of lead, which is a leading environmental hazard for children, she said.

Lead exposure can damage the brain and nervous system, causing behavior and learning problems such as hyperactivity, delayed growth, hearing problems and headaches.

Empirical Environmental, LLC will provide the scanning service, with a limit of two toys per child.

American Medical Response professionals will teach CPR classes at 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. near Sears. Participants must register in advance at the Pueblo Mall's Customer Service Desk or call 584-4760 to reserve a spot in one of the sessions.

"Pueblo and the surrounding communities have faced far too many preventable tragedies in recent years involving children," Ortiz-Misiaszek said.

The Teddy Bear Clinic was launched seven years ago "to fill the health and safety informational needs of our community."

Worldwide, injury is a leading cause of death in children and a major cause of long-term disability.

Locally, an increasing number of families have limited, or no access, to regular health care or information regarding prevention or the importance of quick treatment.

"Parkview wants to help families prevent injuries and illnesses in their daily lives," said Ortiz-Misiaszek. "They will learn about children's health and injury prevention in a fun, yet educational, environment. We invite everyone to attend the Teddy Bear Clinic and hope families will have a great day while learning to stay safe and healthy."

Other sponsors of the clinic are: EPYCS Central High School, Vectra Bank and Little Caesars Pizza.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.

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