Child Life

Being in the hospital can be very stressful for children and their families. The Child Life Program at Blank Children's Hospital helps patients and their families understand medical options, talk through emotions while keeping the patient's life as normal as possible, ease nerves prior to procedures and so much more. By using play, recreation and educational

Child Life Specialists

Child life specialists foster healing and recovery by helping children express their concerns and cope with fears. Specialists meet with families to provide educational activities to help children adjust to the medical setting, prepare for medical procedures and put them at ease.

How does child life help?


Child Life Specialists use words that are easier to understand to talk with children and families about what they will experience during their healthcare visit.

Medical Play

By allowing patients and families to explore medical equipment in a playful way, Child Life Specialists can help them gain a sense of familiarity and control over their environment. Patients are encouraged to express their fears and misconceptions through role-playing their healthcare experience.


Child life Specialists help teach various coping skills for patients which helps lessen anxiety for patients and families. These coping skills may include:

  • Distraction
  • Breathing techniques
  • Comfort positions
Family Support
Child Life Specialists can enhance siblings’ and family members understanding and coping by offering therapeutic play and education during their family members’ medical experience. Child Life Specialists also provide support for parents by serving as a resource for developmental issues and concerns.

What is Child Life?

Services for Patients and Families

Child Life Specialists work to make every child’s experience as positive as possible. By using play, recreation and educational techniques, child life staff help children find ways to cope with fear, anxiety and separation from family and friends. Support for patients and family members include:

  • Supporting the patient's emotional, social and cognitive growth in the context of his or her family, culture and developmental stage.
  • Encouraging developmentally appropriate therapeutic play activities.
  • Energizing children and families by coordinating special events, entertainment and activities.
  • Preparing children for medical procedures and diagnoses using developmentally specific language and teaching tools.
  • Offering pre-procedural tours to help patients and families become more familiar with the hospital setting.
  • Assisting patients and families in emergency situations and unplanned visits to the hospital.
  • Providing support for families and siblings who may be affected by a diagnosis, illness, trauma or grief.
  • Supporting parents and caregivers by encouraging their participation in their child's health care.
  • Providing education and resources for parents and family members.

Child Life Specialists are trained health professionals who have a bachelor's or master's degree in child development, psychology, education, therapeutic recreation or related field. They have completed an extensive internship and maintain certification requirements of the Association of Child Life Professionals.

Support Areas


  • General Pediatrics Unit
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


  • Pediatric Emergency Department
  • Blank Children's Clinics and Outpatient Departments
  • Outpatient Surgery
  • Radiology

Outpatient Care Referral

  • EEG
  • Endoscopy and other areas serving children
There are various playrooms throughout the hospital and outpatient areas that are staffed by child life specialists, activity assistants and volunteers. Opportunities for playroom time vary depending on the area of the hospital, as well as the patient’s reason for visiting the hospital. For more information, please ask your nurse or Child Life Specialist.

Support Child Life

Give Now

The Child Life program at Blank Children's Hospital is made possible because of generous community support. The service is not paid for by insurance, so we rely on the support of individuals, organizations and others in the community to help us provide this valuable and important service for patients and families.

Give Now

Donate Toys and GIfts

It can be difficult for children and families to spend time in the hospital, but special toys and activities can help ease the stress. Take a look at our wish lists and donation guidelines.

Wish Lists


The Child Life Program relies on volunteers in the playroom, bedside, clinic and Emergency Department. Volunteers help with activities and encourage children's play in both structured and creative activities.

Learn More