Hospital Lets Kids Drive Themselves To Surgery In A Battery-Powered Volkswagen Beetle

Giving kids a sense of control in the midst of a tough time could help their recovery later.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, undergoing surgery is stressful. Now, one hospital in New Jersey is helping child patients combat that stress by allowing them the thrill of driving themselves to surgery in one of three battery-powered toy cars.

In Camden, New Jersey, the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper has acquired miniaturized versions of the Volkswagen Beetle, Audi TT RS, and Mercedes-Benz AMG GT for kids to drive through the halls on their way to their procedures. The seemingly simple act affords them an opportunity to have a bit of fun in the midst of a stressful situation.

The electric toy cars were donated by Cherry Hill Imports Auto Group – a local dealer group with showrooms selling Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Jaguar Land Rover products. The owners of the dealer group happen to be members of the hospital’s Foundation Board, so when the board learned of a hospital in California with electric toy cars that kids could drive around the facility and wanted to do something similar, the owners were happy to furnish the equipment.

It’s not just about fun, though; Cooper Foundation CEO Susan Bass Levin told Car and Driver that driving themselves to their procedures lets kids feel some control over their situation, reducing anxiety and helping with recovery. “And of course, when a parent sees their child having fun, it puts the parents at ease, making it a better experience for everyone,” Levin said.

Things like the electric toy car experience at Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper have been implemented at other hospitals around the world, Car and Driver says, all with the aim of easing stress for child patients and helping recovery. The video below shows a similar program in action at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in England.

And here’s a video of a powerwheels Beetle Dune that has nothing to do with this story, specifically, but is a good reminder of what it looks like.