Estonian police teddy bears will comfort children

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Estonian police with teddy bears to comfort childrenImage source,
Image caption,
Estonian police will use teddy bears to comfort upset children

Police cars in Estonia will soon be equipped with teddy bears to help comfort children at the scene of incidents, if a crowdfunding plan comes together.

A group of students were "stunned" to discover that children are involved in more than a thousand accidents a year at school, in the home, in playgrounds, or on the roads, and are often left "injured, in a state of shock, or just in need of comfort," the Jarva Teataja newspaper reports. So they set up the Traumamommik (trauma teddy) charity, which aims to put two teddies in each Estonian police car and border patrol vehicle by 1 June - which is marked as Children's Rights Day in many formerly Soviet-run states.

The police and border guards have readily agreed to the scheme - Paide town police chief Margus Toomsalu told Jarva Teataja that "incidents of domestic violence often mean that children need comforting". Traumamommik has set up the Kallikaru (teddy bear) site and an account on the Hooandja crowdfunding platform for anyone who wants to help. They need to raise 7,000 euros (£6,077/$7,550) by 28 April, and have already received more than 1,000, as well as the support of several companies.

Traumammomik considered using second-hand bears, but decided it would be better to opt for new ones for health and safety reasons, the paper says. The money will go to buy, clean, transport and store the bears, which the children are free to take home with them or swap for another at their local police station.

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Plushies on patrol

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