California Hospital Lets Kids Drive Mini Cars to Surgery to Ease Their Fears

April 8, 2019 Updated: April 13, 2019

Getting into a car and driving it to the operating theater, through the hospital corridors, might not sound like a great escape route, but this idea has taken off for kids needing surgery.

For youngsters facing this prospect, there is nothing quite like having to anxiously wait on a hospital bed before being wheeled to the operating theater to then be under the knife. It can send chills down your spine just thinking about it, right?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, hospitals have been trying to makes the circumstances surrounding surgery as anxiety-free as possible for children. These include playing films and games, and also have clowns dressed as doctors.

However, one hospital has come up with a plan to make that journey to the unknown a little more pleasant.

Great news to share! Doctors Medical Center has been awarded an “A” from The Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2018 Hospital Safety…

Posted by Doctors Medical Center on Thursday, November 8, 2018

Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California, have come up with an ingenious idea—children can now “drive” themselves to surgery in one of the center’s two miniature cars. There is one little black Mercedes and a little pink Volkswagen Beetle. The goal is to “reduce anxiety and stress, and make the experience less scary for everyone involved,” according to the Doctors Medical Center’s website.

Posted by Doctors Medical Center on Friday, March 22, 2019

Posted by Doctors Medical Center on Friday, March 22, 2019

“These sweet rides take our smallest patients to the operating room,” Doctors Medical Center told PEOPLE in a statement. “The goal is to reduce anxiety and stress, and make the experience less scary for everyone involved.”

One forward-thinking pre-op nurse, Kimberly Martinez, did some research and discovered the cars had a lasting impact on young patients.

“When the children find out they can go into the operating room riding in a cool little car, they light up, and in most cases, their fears melt away,” Martinez said. “In addition, when parents see their children put at ease, it puts them at ease as well.”

Check it out! Doctors Medical Center has made another addition to our pediatric surgical program 🎀 Last year, we…

Posted by Doctors Medical Center on Friday, March 22, 2019

The cars also have a stereo with pre-loaded tunes, so the kids can listen to happy tunes as they drive along.

“The cars have working headlights, back-up lights and dash lights. The doors open, they have a safety belt and a horn. The cars are intended for kids ages 2-7,” according to the center’s website.

Hospital Lets Kid Drive Mini Cars Into Surgery

Children at this hospital ride mini cars to the operating room to reduce anxiety 🚗😀

Posted by BuzzFeed News on Thursday, March 28, 2019

“It can be traumatizing for a young patient to be peeled away from their parents as they head into surgery,” the hospital center added. “This truly helps everyone involved.”

Seems like a great solution to a problem, as happy patients also makes for an easier recovery.

VW Beetle for Pediatric Surgical Patients

With a little passenger in tow, Caroline takes our new pink Beetle for a spin! Doctors Medical Center now has two little cars available for our young surgical patients to ride into the operating room. We can see the stress and anxiety melt away when they hop in the car ❤

Posted by Doctors Medical Center on Saturday, March 23, 2019

In another approach to lifting children’s spirits, Methodist Children’s Hospital took the opportunity to have pop-singer Justin Timberlake tour the children’s ward during his San Antonio concert in January 2019.

“It’s amazing. The kids are so strong, man. It’s inspirational,” he said in an Instagram video as he was walking through the wards.

Timberlake was happy to pose with patients, even helping ring the bell for one patient as chemotherapy was finally finished.

It’s great that stars can take time out of their busy schedules and provide moral support for children’s hospitals.

According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, parents can also help allay children’s fears by:

  • listening to their concerns and answering any questions they have. For example, children may want to know whether the operation will hurt or whether they need an injection. Honest answers can help them be better prepared.
  • children may want to take their toy
  • telling stories, reading to them, drawing pictures and putting on puppet shows, and
  • listening to music

And now thanks to Doctors Medical Center, children can now cruise in style to the operating theater with less stress and have some fun along the way!

New Car for DMC Pediatric Patients

In case you missed our post from earlier, Doctors Medical Center now has a cool new ride for our little patients heading to the operating room! Check it out in action 😎 The goal is to make their experience a little less scary, and reduce their anxiety.

Posted by Doctors Medical Center on Monday, June 4, 2018