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A comfort object is an item used to provide psychological comfort, especially in unusual or unique situations or at bedtime for small children. Though many toddlers prefer a teddy bear or doll, a stuffed animal, a favorite blanket, or even a toy such as a dump truck could be a comfort object at some stages, as the notion is that the familiarity of said object will help the child feel better, go to sleep faster, or feel less stress in a new situation.
Comfort objects are very common among toddlers and preschool aged children, and while some give them up soon after entering school, the age at which one no longer needs a comfort object varies, as does the time one might need one. Some teenagers have been known to still sleep with comfort objects, though they will probably not talk to them as a small child might. Even adults can use comfort objects at times, as elderly people in nursing homes have been known to be comforted after being given a stuffed bear or doll. The theory is that this reminds them of the more serene moments of childhood.
Another term for comfort object is security blanket, a term made famous by Charles Schulz in his comic strip Peanuts. One of the major characters, Linus, seemed to walk almost everywhere carrying a blanket.
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