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VALENCIENNES

Mini cars drive away children’s fears of surgery

VALENCIENNES: Wearing a big grin, Marame clambers into the small electric sports car and drives off -- to the operating theatre. The five-year-old girl is a patient at the public hospital in the northern French city of Valenciennes, which has begun using toys rather than drugs to alleviate children's fears of surgery. The new scheme for youngsters aged 18 months to eight years is based on similar programmes in the United States and Australia. The playful approach, implemented in December, has wiped out the need…