A CHILD involved in a traumatic experience such as a car accident or house fire will now be given a trauma teddy by firefighters to comfort them.
Firefighter and ordained priest at St Wilfrid’s Church, Andy Wilkes, said the ladies’ group at the church offered to knit teddies for children involved in a traumatic incident.
He said yes, and the group got busy, knitting 28 teddies ready to be dispatched on fire engines around the county.
“We’ve had them previously, but ran out of them,” said Andy.
“Somebody approached me from the ladies’ group at St Wilfrid’s and asked if we had trauma teddies in West Sussex.
“The ones we’ve used have never been replaced as the children get to keep them.
“I thought it would be a great idea for them to get knitting.
“It’s people from the community working with the fire service for the benefit of children.
“Thankfully we do not get many incidents involving children.
“But they can be used in road traffic collisions where children are involved or in house fires.
“We use them for children of parents that are involved in accidents. It helps take their minds off things.”
Maureen Chaplin from St Wilfrid’s Church ladies’ group, said: “When I went to Bristol I saw they were doing something similar.
“It seems such a good idea for children involved in accidents, to give them something to cuddle.
“We asked if they needed them and they said yes.
“Although we do hope they won’t be needed.”
Chichester fire station’s blue watch crew manager Suzanne Goff said: “It is a way of distracting the children in a traumatic incident.
“If a child has started to go into shock and is feeling vulnerable, if family members are injured, children can get upset. It is a nice way to distract them,
“We sit them on the fire engine and give them a teddy while the ambulance crew is given a chance to treat the injured family member.
“They can take the teddy with them.
“It is like a new friend to help them through a traumatic time.
“For small children it is important as they do not understand what is going on.
“Thankfully it is not something we come across every day.”
The St Wilfrid’s Church ladies’ group presented the knitted teddies to firefighters at Chichester Fire Station on Monday, June 16.
The knitted bears will now be sent off to fire engines around the county, including Bognor Regis, Midhurst and Petworth, ready to comfort a child in need.