Hospital lets kids 'drive' to surgery to help reduce fears

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MODESTO, Calif. (WTHR) – A hospital in Modesto, California wants to change the idea that surgery might be daunting or scary for young kids.

That's why, they're now putting children in the driver's seat.

Doctors Medical Center recently rolled out a miniature pink Volkswagen Beetle, specifically intended to take the hospital’s smallest patients to the operating room.

The whole idea behind the miniature car is that it will reduce stress and anxiety, creating a fun little distraction before the big moment.

Pre-op nurse Kimberly Martinez came up with the idea after doing some research and she found benefits of having the cars for 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. “It can be traumatizing for a young patient to be peeled away from their parents as they head into surgery. This helps both the patient and their parents.”

The medical center has two battery-powered vehicles for young patients to drive. One is a little black Mercedes and now they also have a pink Volkswagen Beetle.

According to TODAY, the little cars also have a stereo so that the kids can listen to their favorite song on the way to their surgeries.

Laura Thomason Simms' grandson got to drive a Jeep to his procedure at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital in Indianapolis Friday. Simms says riding in the Jeep helped make the experience less scary.

St. Vincent in Anderson, Indiana received a remote control sports car from a volunteer back in November 2018.