Friendly faces for child patients

Animal-shaped medical supplies are changing the atmosphere of the doctor’s office

By Tessa Grantier

For children, the doctor’s office is often a scary place where they get poked, prodded and stuck with needles. Pedia Pals is working to change that. The company is co-owned by Amanda Powell, CEO and former U.S. Air Force captain, and CFO Jonathan Powell, who is also an Air Force veteran. To create a more kid-friendly environment, the Minneapolis-based company creates fun alternatives to traditional medical supplies.

The company was founded as Pedia Parents Inc. in 1998 and two years later acquired ZooPals. “That is the portion of our business that does the exam tables shaped like animals,” explains Amanda. “We also have accessories in the shape of friendly animals. We combined those two to make the Pedia Pals brand.” Pedia Pals products include Jamaal Giraffe reflex hammer, which gives the patients kisses on their knees, and Benjamin Bear blood pressure kit, which hugs the arms of children. “The bear hug for the blood pressure kit is just kind of fun, because you’re telling [the children] what’s going to happen: it’s going to squeeze,” Jonathan says. “They just don’t know what to expect when you wrap [a traditional blood pressure cuff] around their arm. The bear is nice because it tells you it’s just going to give you a bear hug.”

The fiber glass work for the exam tables is done in Paynesville, while the rest of the products are manufactured, packaged and shipped in Minneapolis. After the products are completed, they are sent to all corners of the Earth. “We sell all over the world!” Amanda says.

“We do have some [Pedia Pals products] in Minnesota. We work with distributors who don’t always tell us the end location so we know they’re going somewhere in Minnesota, we just don’t know where,” Jonathan says.

“We do have some at Park Nicollet in Plymouth!” Amanda interjects.

When asked to name their favorite animal, the Powells answer at the same time: Amanda says, “Dinos!” while Jonathan says “Hippo!” They go on to have a short debate about which is the true favorite, proving that Pedia Pals can bring out the kid in anyone!