Going to the hospital for procedures or illness can be very traumatic on
small children. To help parents we asked our families, our nurses and
physicians for suggestions of things that worked the best and pitfalls
to avoid during a hospital stay. Here are their suggestions:
Keep a hospital bag packed in your car so you can easily grab and go.
Items to include:
A print out of food composition charts and other
information regarding CSID
for the hospital dietician and
emergency room staff.
Bring a copy of pertinent medical records and insurance card.
Use a rolling suitcase, it is easier to maneuver with a small
Comfortable clothing for caretaker to sleep in if your stay
Pajamas for your child, they do not always have to wear
Favorite small blanket and stuffed animal
Books, small toys, coloring book & pencils or crayons
Music your child likes to listen to
A mug and hot chocolate packs for you during the middle of
the night (coffee
can keep you awake when you are
already worried and need a few winks
Snacks that have a long shelf life (so you do not have to
leave your child
alone to eat)
Brightly colored signs and tape or other way of posting
"Sucrose Free Diet do
not feed this child foods without
parent's approval" or similar type of
statement. Candy stripers and other
volunteers can give your child a sugar
laden popsicle unaware your child
needs a special diet.
Toiletries for parents/guardians & child
Consent to treat a minor and emergency numbers (for
babysitter and when
you rush out the door forgetting your
Extra cash (not much but enough to purchase a meal in the
A note pad and pencil (helps you keep track of what doctors
and nurses are
telling you and questions you may have. It
also helps you communicate
with others who might be helping you stay
with your loved one.)
Medications you or your child normally needs including
something for a
headache or upset stomach.
If your child needs an injection or other invasive treatment, ask if it
can be done in another room besides the room they sleep in. This allows
the child to feel safe when they are in their hospital room.
Answer questions your child may have honestly. Children know when you
are not being straight and then they lose trust making them more anxious
If possible do not bring things from the hospital into the child's
house, seeing objects can remind them of the hospital and trigger
nightmares (books, stuffed animals, blankets, etc.) Try and wash and
Keep a couple of take-out menus that deliver in your bag, most hospital
food is unwelcome after a couple of days. Spicy food will upset your
stomach further if you are stressed already.
If your child is going to be in a hospital for a number of days or weeks
and friends ask what they can bring, instead of balloons that are a
hazard for small children, ask if they can stop by a teachers supply
store and bring decorations that would be used on a teacher's bulletin
board. This type of brightly, larger artwork can brighten a child's
room, especially if it coincides with a holiday.
If your child is getting a vaccination, ask the physician ahead of time
if you/they would advise the use of a cold or hot pack to help your
child be more comfortable.
Teach your child the Boo Boo Bunny Poem
If a boo boo has you feeling crummy,
Stick an ice cube in my tummy.
Hold it to your boo boo tight,
Soon everything will be all right!
Visitors can exhaust little people, so keep visits short and avoid large