Child life specialists know that hospitals and procedures can be scary for kids. With training in child development, child life specialists help kids understand what’s going to happen at the hospital and give kids age-appropriate coping tools to get through procedures. Using models, picture books, dolls, play and practice, child life specialists help children understand procedures and enhance feelings of control.
Child life specialists make things easier for children in radiology by:
- Talking about procedures before they happen, practicing what will happen and answering questions. Many kids find it helpful to know what they will see, hear and feel before they experience it. Medical play allows patients to become more familiar and comfortable with things they will see or feel during their procedure. Medical play can also help your child express fears and allow the child life specialist to correct any misconceptions.
- Planning coping strategies to make the procedure easier and help decrease anxiety. Using distraction, the child life specialist can draw the child’s attention away from something uncomfortable and help the child relax.
- Giving children choices to make decisions about what they want to do during the procedure (some procedures allow watching a movie, listening to music, reading a book, holding someone’s hand or closing their eyes).
- Providing comfort measures (sitting on mom or dad’s lap when appropriate, numbing the skin for IVs, etc.).
For parents here are some helpful hints for parents on how to best help your child during a procedure. Each age group has different needs, so click below on the age group of your child:
Infants (Birth-1 year)
Toddlers (1-3 years)
Preschoolers (3-5 years)
School-Age Kids (6-11 years)
Teens (12 years and older)
To contact the child life department, please call 904.202.8541. For more information about child life, visit www.childlife.org.
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