Teddy Bears Helping to Save Lives

Stuffed animals on mission to keep babies from being left in hot cars

By Christine Lee
|  Thursday, Mar 15, 2012  |  Updated 7:20 PM CDT
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A group of nurses at Baylor Medical Center-Irving came up with the backseat buddy, which uses a small pink or blue teddy bear to remind parents not to leave their baby in their car.

Christine Lee, Irving Reporter

A group of nurses at Baylor Medical Center-Irving came up with the backseat buddy, which uses a small pink or blue teddy bear to remind parents not to leave their baby in their car.

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Nurses at Baylor Medical Center in Irving have developed a program that helps remind new parents not to leave their baby in their car.

The group gives all new parents teddy bears that serve as visual reminders before they leave the hospital. When the baby is in the backseat, the bear is on a key chain. When the baby gets taken out of the car, the bear sits in the back seat.

"This little guy, or girl I should say, sits on the key chain while they're driving and, looking down, they see the little teddy bear," said Tina Austin, Baylor Irving's education coordinator.

The nurses have given out more than 2,000 bears since beginning Backseat Buddies in the spring of 2010.

Mother Lacey Spillman said her new little buddy will help her wherever she goes.

"It's always nice to have a reminder," she said. "It really is, because I mean, anxiety can really boggle you down and the medication as well."

Spillman, who gave birth to her daughter, Savannah, on Monday, said it's very difficult to mentally prepare for a new child in the home. The 23-year-old has another child and said motherhood can get chaotic.

"There has been times where I've had such anxiety, where I've had him right next to me, and I've looked around, and I didn't see him sitting right there. And I've gone, 'Oh my gosh, where is my baby?'" she said.

As the temperatures warms up, babies and small children are more prone to danger if left behind. Austin said a car can heat up very quickly in a matter of minutes and oxygen levels can quickly drop.

Last year, a 4-month-old died after being accidentally left inside a car, Irving police said.

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