'Their fears melt away': the special cars taking kids into surgery

The cars taking kids into surgery. Photo: Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, CA
The cars taking kids into surgery. Photo: Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, CA 

A medical centre in California is helping reduce stress and anxiety in their littlest patients by letting them roll into surgery in a special one-seater car.

The pediatric surgery program at Doctors Medical Centre, Modesto, boasts two such vehicles - a black Mercedes and a pink Volkswagon, which take children aged two to seven into the operating room.

Made just for kids, the cars?are?fully equipped with a stereo and can?be operated by remote control or by the children?themselves. They have working headlights, back-up lights, dash lights - and even a horn.

It's certainly a far?more exciting - and less scary - entrance to the OR than on a traditional gurney.

And while the centre?purchased the first car last year,?the second was?generously donated by an employee and her family.?

The idea came from pre-op nurse Kimberly Martinez who conducted some research and discovered the cars could have 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.

"It can be traumatising for a young patient to be peeled away from their parents as they head into surgery. This helps both the patient and their parents."

Those smiles say it all.