- Friday, 25 March 2022 09:12
Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) are proud to continue offering Trauma Teddies to children who have been through difficult experiences, thanks to the kindness of local crafters.
Riding on fire engines alongside crews, Trauma Teddies have become another important piece of firefighting kit. These cuddly crew members are handed out to young people involved in traumatic incidents, providing much needed reassurance and emotional support.
Originally knitted by the Knowle Townswomen's Guild in Bristol, these teddies have proven to make a real difference to the lives of children affected by trauma. These bears have helped many children through the years and AF&RS are keen to continue to offer them.
If you’re a keen knitter or a member of a knitting group looking for a new project, check out the top tips below to make sure your Trauma Teddies meet the necessary standards to be donated.
Your Guide to Knitting a Trauma Teddy
We are extremely grateful for the time you will be taking to put a smile on the face of someone who is going through such a difficult experience. We have some important notes to read before you start your Trauma Teddy, to ensure everyone is as safe as can be.
- Do what you are best at: Some people are good knitters but don’t like sewing seams or embroidering faces. Other people are best at the finishing process. The Dry Arch can provide advice and help.
- Only a safe and strong Teddy can become a Trauma Teddy: Imagine that the Teddy will be hugged and chewed by a distressed little child, or held hard by someone in pain. It must be made of clean, safe materials and must not fall apart, accessories such as scarfs, jackets or trousers should be knitted into the main body of the teddy and facial features should be sewn in using thread rather than buttons etc. which may detach. All materials used should be for stuffing the teddies should be non-flammable.
- Yarn: Double knitting wool, 4/8 ply or cotton wool.
- Size of the Teddy: You can make “Original” or “Little” Trauma Teddies. An Original Teddy should be approximately 28 cm (11 inches) before filling, or 32cm tall after filling. A Little Teddy should be approximately 20 cm (8 inches) before filling, or 23 cm (9 inches) tall after filling.
- Needles: Use size 4mm (11) or 4.5mm (10) needles depending on whether you are a loose or firm knitter. If your Teddy is too long, use thinner needles. If it is too short, use thicker needles.
- Head and hands: For the head, use a colour that is light enough for the black features to be seen clearly. If you want your Teddy to have “hands”, change the colour for a few stitches at the beginning and end of rows in the sleeves by twisting the yarns together on the “wrong” side of the knitting.
- No loose pieces: Trauma Teddies must never have any loose pieces or extras such as scarves unless they are knitted into the fabric of the Teddy.
- Yarn for sewing up: Whenever you cast on or off, or change colour, leave plenty of yarn for sewing up. Be sure to leave enough extra “head colour” yarn for the neck and ears.
- No knots: Yarn must be joined only at the end of the row - no knots in the middle of rows! If the wool runs out, unpick the row and join the new yarn at the edge.