Knowing you are heading out the door to visit the doctor or dentist can make even the bravest of us a little nervous. And we are adults! Imagine how it must feel to your child. They are going into an unpredictable situation. Will they get poked or prodded? That idea alone is enough to send some kids into a meltdown.
Most pediatricians or pediatric dentists go into their chosen profession because they love children, so their goal is to make you feel as calm as possible. Fortunately, many pediatric offices have gone to great lengths to make your brief stay in their office as comfortable as possible, such as providing books, games, toys and even occasionally video entertainment. Walls are often forgotten though, with big blank spaces or perhaps medical posters advertising vitamins or tips on eating more fruits and veggies.
Just ask anyone who spends gobs of time online how they feel when they come across photos of cute puppies or kittens in their social media feed. They can be a real time suck, making us smile, coo, and even laugh out loud. Advertisers know that cute animals are compelling, which is why record numbers of dollars are spent on animal advertisements during prime-time events, such as the Super Bowl.
But science shows that the cuteness goes beyond just being cute. Scientists from the Hiroshima University in Japan have demonstrated that “cute” pictures of baby animals can have powerful effects on attention and concentration. I don’t know about you, but I’d love for my doctors and nurses to be attentive and detail oriented when it comes to my care, and that of my kiddos. If walking into an exam room and seeing an adorable animal photograph eases the mind of our medical professionals, why not use baby animal photos on all the walls?
Everybody knows that petting an animal can lower your blood pressure and release a spurt of oxytocin, a nurturing hormone present in nursing mothers, into the blood. But it turns out that seeing animal photographs can elicit a similar response! Researchers in Korea used an MRI to watch brain activity of people looking at different images. When people looked at natural scenes, parts of the brain associated with empathy and altruism became active. If your kids get a case of the jitters when they visit the doctor or dentist, baby animal prints on the walls can help to calm their nerves and help them to be kind to the staff.
Baby animal photographs are adorable, of course. But they can also be a wonderful and calming distraction. Help your child use her imagination. What if the two of you stepped inside the photograph of the baby sloth?
What do the walls look like at your pediatric medical offices? If you, your kids (or even the staff!) might benefit from looking at baby animal prints, please let the office manager know! We offer generous discounts to pediatric clinics, birthing suites and children’s hospitals. Details can be found at Baby Animal Prints on our Medical Office page.