English psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott spoke of transitional objects, loosely equivalent to the security blanket. Stuffed animals are sometimes carried in emergency vehicles and police patrol cars, to be given to children involved in an accident or traumatic event, to provide them comfort, thus filling a similar role.
Research with children on this subject was performed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee by Richard H. Passman and his associates. Among other findings, they showed that security blankets are appropriately named — they actually do give security to those children attached to them. Along with other positive benefits, having a security blanket available can help children adapt to new situations, aid in their learning, and adjust to physicians' and clinical psychologists' evaluations. Dr. Passman's research also points out that there is nothing abnormal about being attached to them. About 60% of children in the United States have at least some attachment to a security object.