ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Teddy Bears: Why We Need Them

Updated on July 12, 2010


Teddy Bears have become a phenomenon credited with the healing and soothing of hearts and minds the world over. Why we need them may be as mysterious as the magic power they wield. From the time Morris Michton and his wife displayed the first “Teddy’s Bear” in their storefront window in 1902 the world has embraced the Teddy Bear. Started as an idea inspired by Clifford Berryman’s cartoon depicting Theodore Roosevelt’s refusal to shoot a tethered bear, the Teddy Bear has enjoyed over one hundred years of devotion and evolution. In a synchronistic move in the same year a German toy designer created his own version. By 1906 society ladies carried them everywhere, child portraits were enhanced by the furry props, and many companies entered the competitive fray. Soon the bear became truly international when England, France and Australia joined the fervour. In spite of some lean years between the 50s and 70s the Teddy Bear bounced back as softer, washable and mass produced. While still mass produced today’s bears have entered the designer and collectible world and have progressed to being therapy tools.

Value of Teddy Bears

As early as 1955 surgeons employed the Teddy Bear to alleviate children’s anxiety. In the operating room the child was given a Teddy Bear which administered a low dose of gas through a tube in its snout (Time). After he or she was sufficiently sleepy they were given a higher dose with a mask. It’s doubtful that today’s child would be subjected to such tactics, but the bears are still employed worldwide in a variety of ways to soften the blows of trauma. Paramedics, police, and hospitals have all discovered the magic a Teddy Bear brings to a child under stress.

Actual Teddy Bear hospitals now exist where children are introduced to the routine of a hospital stay “to reduce children's anxiety about visiting the doctor and to help medical students improve their communication skills with children” (Student BMJ). Through diagnosing and treating their own bears and consulting with student doctors, the child becomes familiar with various hospital equipment and procedures. Similar projects have been undertaken in countries such as the UK, Norway, the Netherlands and Taiwan. But the benefits of Teddy Bears don’t stop with children. A study done in 2006 has discovered that Alzheimer’s patients respond to the stuffed bears. In Newcastle General Hospital doctors undertook a study “after seeing how a patient bonded with a teddy bear from her son” (Bio The study concentrated on 14 patients and they discovered anxiety was reduced and communication with staff and residents improved. Dr. Ian James stated the bears don’t “reverse dementia, but it did seem to improve quality of life,".       

Special Gifts
Special Gifts
SMU Bears (Saint Mary's University)
SMU Bears (Saint Mary's University)

Why Teddy Bears?

Where does our love of Teddy Bears come from? Is it a tactile need for something soft and comforting? Yet, not until this last generation have bears been so approachable in the tactile sense. So there is more to the allure of the bear. Many have suggested Teddy Bears remind us of a special childhood bear who listened with round furry ears and comforted with quiet button eyes, or they take us back to memories now longed for. But what of those who never had such a childhood friend or fond memories? Teddy Bears go deeper yet. Perhaps they speak of an instinctual connection to nature which has all but been bred out of us. We crave the peace and solitude the bear represents especially in this technological era. Since “Teddy’s Bear” made its first appearance we have seen two world wars and countless other conflicts which continue to grow and expand in threat and intensity beyond our understanding. Today, more than ever, we need a Teddy Bear’s touch upon our injured psyches – something to remind us of simpler, more natural times.

Works Consulted and Cited

1) “Dolls and Teddy Bears May Help Alzheimer’s Patients.” 9 July 2006.Bio Medicine. Org. 13 Oct. 2009

2) “Teddy Bear Hospital.”June 2004. Student BMJ. 13 Oct. 2009

3) “Teddy Bear.” Wikipedia. 13 Oct. 2009 //

4) Kaplan, Mira, M.D. “Teddy Bears as a Tool for Health.” 2002. Teddy Bear and Friends. 13 Oct. 2009

5) Clay, Marianne. “The History of the Teddy Bear.” 2002. Teddy Bear and Friends. 13 Oct. 2009

6) Bellis, Mary. “Teddy Roosevelt and the Teddy Bear.” 13 Oct. 2009

7) “Medicine: Anesthesia via Teddy Bear.” 26 Dec. 1955. Time Magazine Online. 13 Oct. 2009,9171,808014,00.html

Group Photo
Group Photo


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      5 years ago

      awwh, thank you very much (blushes) He's in reaaaaaally bad shape now but still have that teddy bear. Lottsa love and hugs being sent to Olli and mummy xo

    • profile image

      Search Bonanza 

      10 years ago

      I’m just passing through; excellent hub page however, very comprehensive and intuitive.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)