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Preparing for a Hospital Stay


Reassure Your Child about His/Her Hospitalization

We encourage parents to stay overnight with their children in most circumstances.

Comfort items, such as a favorite stuffed animal, video or toy, can help make the hospital experience easier. Children should know nurses are on duty around the clock to provide care and support.

Parents should explain why hospitalization is needed, what the doctors and nurses will do and ensure the child understands he/she has not done anything wrong or bad.

We try to reduce discomfort as much as possible, but you should be honest when discussing fears about pain. Please contact your physician with specific questions so you can provide accurate information to your child.

Child life specialists and creative art therapists offer educational play activities that explain hospitalization and medical procedures. These books, toys and games help reduce anxiety, provide age-appropriate explanations and offer supportive relationships where children can share their concerns. You can contact a child life specialist or creative art therapist at (718) 470-3005.

Supporting your child during their stay

Ways to support your child during medical procedures:

  • Talk in a calm, comforting voice
  • Sing familiar songs or tell favorite stories
  • Blow bubbles or look at a book for distraction
  • Explain what is happening using language the child can understand
  • Bring their comfort item (such as a stuffed animal, pacifier, etc) with them
  • Utilize a position of comfort when appropriate, check with your healthcare team

Positioning for Comfort

Positioning for comfort is a holding technique in which a child is placed in a comfortable and secure position during medical procedures, decreasing fear and anxiety. It increases a sense of control for the child, while providing close contact with their parent or caregiver.

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