P.E.I. ambulances are now stocked with stuffed toys to comfort children during emergencies after a group of mothers raised money to make the donation.
"We're kind of strangers to these children that are hurt or sick or whatever, so a little bit of a comforting teddy bear can ease things off too as well and help them in their care," said Mike MacKenzie, a paramedic with Island EMS.
Teressa Peters spearheaded the fundraising project after her friend's daughter was in a car accident. At the time, the little girl was given a stuffed toy from the hospital. Peters said she was surprised to hear Island EMS didn't carry comforts like this onboard.
"Well I, just as a mom thought, 'You know, we can do something to change that,'" said Peters.
With the help of other mothers, Peters raised more than $1,000 to purchase 66 Kozy Kats – hypoallergenic toys that don't have any zippers or buttons. They can also be heated up.
"Knock on wood, I don't have anybody who personally has to use them but they're there for us and our community," said Tanya Kelly. "We just wanted to help them out."
Tracy Vanderkooi, who also helped raise money, said it's important for kids to feel safe when they're in an emergency situation.
"Because they're so scared and a little comfort thing goes a long way," she said.
Island EMS said it deals with between 10 and 20 pediatric calls monthly.
And although they have had stuffed animal donations in the past, Mackenzie says this is the first major donation in the past five years.
"Now it's here, so I'm really excited and overwhelmed by it."
Peters said this is the first of what she hopes will be an annual donation. She plans to continue fundraising to keep Island ambulances stocked with Kozy Kats.