For most kids out there, “The Doctor” is pretty high on the list of arch-enemies. He’s got a lot of weapons at his disposal: those tiny pointy guns he uses to shoot fluids into your body, the hammers that knock your knees right out from under you, and those weird little contraptions he sticks down your ears that make you all wiggly inside.
Yes, The Doctor is a crafty villain with lots of freaky weapons. But the scariest one of all? It’s that tunnel he traps you in sometimes. It’s dark, your movements are completely restricted, and sometimes you have to lie there for hours before your trusty sidekick Mom rescues you. The whole time you’re in there you can hear the menacing buzzes and beeps coming from MagnetBot, The Doctor’s evil minion and keeper of The Terrifying Tunnel.
If you’ve ever taken your child to get an MRI or a CT scan, you’ll know that the story above pretty accurately depicts how most kids feel about these machines, as well as how they can feel about doctors in general. Getting an MRI or CT is a scary experience, not just for adults but particularly for children as well.
There’s an incredible fear of the unfamiliar, and being constricted in a large machine that makes all sorts of strange noises is pretty much the stuff of nightmares for most children. That’s why doctors and engineers have been teaming up to try to find ways to help expose children to MRI and CT machines, familiarize them with the process, and show them that the procedure isn’t actually scary…all before ever putting the child inside the machine.
It’s a tough thing to do, but each and every day we’re finding creative new ways to help children feel more comfortable with these machines. Take this tiny, toy CT scanner created by a company call Creative Arts. Doctors are able to leave it out in the office, and while children are in the waiting room they can use the CT scanner on stuffed animals.
Having a toy version of the machine, one that they can use to perform the same procedure on their own stuffed animals that they’ll later be receiving, not only helps keep kids entertained while they’re waiting to get their CT, it also helps them better understand the procedure they’re about to have and makes the whole process seem a little less scary.
It just goes to show that a simple toy can help transform a scary concept like MagnetBot and The Terrifying Tunnel into something far less intimidating.