Comforting A Child In The Hospital

The hospital is one of those places nobody wants to be, but it happens. No matter how careful we were with our kids, they still ended up in the hospital many times.

Once you have a child in the hospital, then what? There were a few things we learned after 12 hospitalizations.

Create an emotionally comfortable environment

Bring their favorite blankie

Make sure to watch it like a hawk. The nurse warned us that sometimes, if we aren't careful to keep an eye on Blankie, it could be thrown in the wash when the staff changes the sheets at the hospital. Once that happened, we would never see it again.

Bring their favorite stuffed animal

Ditto - watch it like a hawk! Ever had to try to find an identical stuffed animal because your child lost theirs? You know what a frantic search that can be! And you may know how hard it is to listen to your child cry because Kitty is lost.

Play their favorite music

This shows you how old I am. When our kids were little, we brought a portable CD player and CDs to the hospital. And yes, I have every Disney song memorized to this day. Nowadays, most kids probably have a cell phone or other small device to play music.

Having a physically comfortable environment is good, too

Ear plugs

Every try to in a hospital? Enough said.

Lip balm

When you are wearing an oxygen mask, the constant stream of oxygen dries out your lips. However, many healthcare professionals recommend a water-based product, such as Surgilube, to moisturize the lips or nose. Petroleum or oil-based products, like Vaseline, Chapstick, or Blistex, are more likely to spark and burn when exposed to oxygen.

Video games

In our pediatric ward, they had a gaming system on a big cart that they would wheel into my kids rooms. They were in heaven! Because at home, we had strict rules about how long they could play video games. Ever try to entertain a kid stuck in a hospital bed? By all means, play video games!

Snacks

We would have to check with the nurses first, but they would usually let us bring our kid's favorite crackers and fruit snacks from home. Nurses are so busy that we didn't want to bother them with asking for crackers or cookies. So, check to see if you can bring snacks from home.

Connect with others

Phone/video calls with siblings and friends

Sometimes, our hospital would discourage friends from coming to the hospital to visit our kids. This is especially true if the hospital had kids with other illnesses (such as the stomach flu or other contagious diseases). There are lots of germs in the hospital, so sometimes their friends would call instead. Now you can Facetime or use other options to make video calls.

Talk to the child life specialist

Did you know hospitals have specially trained staff that help kids deal with being in the hospital? Child life specialists can blow bubbles to distract the kids while they get an IV, bring fun art projects to their room, bring them a new donated toy, etc.

What have you found to help your kids when they are in the hospital? Share your story with the community or in the comments below!

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