Children's hospital calls for help filling 'courage box'

At the Children's Clinical University Hospital (BKUS), 'courage boxes' are placed in the procedure rooms. They contain various items, like toys, that a child may receive after performing the procedure. The hospital invites everyone in Latvia to help fill the courage boxes, thus making the visit to the hospital more enjoyable for children, Latvian Television reports Monday.

“There are bubbles that kids love a lot. There are all sorts of objects that we sometimes can't understand what they are, something squishable that helps with anxiety. There are crayons, soft toys for smaller children, stickers, erasers. If we think about teenagers, then here's someone who has donated chapstick,“ Austra Straume, BKUS' Patient Experience Management Department head, said.

The idea has been borrowed from foreign medical institutions where such boxes have proven their effectiveness.

“They are in all our procedure rooms. Before the procedure, the child is informed that when the procedure is complete, you will be able to select an item from the box. At that point, the child puts his or her focus on the box, he or she can start imagining what might be there and what he or she might get, and the procedure can happen much more successfully,” explained Straume.

Medical staff at the facility say the boxes of courage really come handy in day-to-day work. They aren't just short-lived fun for children, says the hospital.

“They're left with good memories when they leave the hospital. We're a children's hospital. Everyone who comes to us will someday grow up to be adults. It's very important for an adult that they go to the doctor in time. This is one small little positive drop we can drip into a child, forming a positive association, that all sorts of procedures are being performed in a hospital, but there are nice things too. Maybe as an adult, I will remember and have good memories and therefore there will be less fear of going,” explained Straume.

The boxes of courage are filled by donors. Businesses, schools and kindergartens, and individuals alike.

Straume said: "the main thing is for them to be small things, to fit in that box, so it's not like one has a huge Lego and the other has a small car. You can ask your child what you'd like to get. It's usually small dolls, toy cars, felt-tip pens, hair clips, small games."

The items can be donated by anyone interested in bringing them personally to the hospital, in advance contacting the Children's Hospital Foundation. For one month starting this week, donations can also be sent through “Omniva” parcels for free. To send a free parcel, one must first fill out a form at and receive a code.

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