Medical Monday: Toy bunny helps ease fears of pediatric patients

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Anytime a child has to go to the hospital, it's frightening because of the fear of the unknown. Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center is using the art of playtime to help calm the fears of their young patients.

Melissa Johnson is a Child Life Specialist and has been using a toy called Rabbit Ray to help pediatric patients. It's a blue bunny that comes with pretend medical equipment and a book that explains the equipment in terms children can understand.

"Rabbit Ray is a great tool for our patients to practice giving the medicine to maybe desensitize them to the medical equipment," explained Johnson.

The toy is a hands-on approach to explain sometimes frightening medical procedures.

"A lot of the fear of the unknown is what I look at as a Child Life Specialist to help decrease the anxieties and help them cope when they're here," said Johnson.

She sometimes even shows children how an IV works by using a stuffed animal that they bring from home. The overall goal is to make the hospital experience less intimidating for children.