Child Life Specialists


Hospitalization can be unnerving enough when you are an adult. Imagine how scary the same experience can be for a child! Our child life specialists are devoted to making a child's hospitalization experience as understandable and close to normal life as possible.

Play therapy is used to help meet the emotional needs of children who have an illness or surgery that requires hospitalization. Being in the hospital can make children feel scared, confused and out of control. Play therapy helps children understand and cope with illness, surgery, hospitalization, treatments and procedures.

The goal of play therapy is to provide a family-centered approach to help your child adjust to hospital care. A child life specialist can help meet the emotional needs of children in the hospital by getting to know your child, giving him/her a chance to express themselves and allowing him/her to adjust to being in the hospital through play therapy.

Parents of infants are offered a chance to learn new skills to comfort their baby and ways they can encourage their baby's continued development while their baby is recovering in the hospital. Child life specialists can help your child and the other family members with play activities to prepare your child for medical procedures. They can also help with relaxation and pain management skills.

Child life specialists can also offer support for siblings who are concerned about their brother or sister who is in the hospital or may have fears of visiting the hospial.

Sacred Heart Children's Hospital and some 400 other institutions across North America offer child life services because they care deeply about humanizing the health care experience for children and families. From the emergency department to pediatric intensive care, serving children with broken bones to those with chronic illness, child life specialists are there explaining procedures and helping children process unfamiliar surroundings and circumstances.

Children's Clubhouse

A fun place for kids to play while a family member receives care at Sacred Heart. To play in the clubhouse, kids need to be healthy, at least 3½ years old and potty trained.

Open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m., the Children’s Clubhouse is located in the upper level of the Children's Emergency Department. Enter from Emergency, or the Main Floor "Bridge of Hope," just east of the Fish Elevators.

Watch this Video to Learn More

Does your group or organization want to plan a visit?

Or maybe you'd like to help out with art or craft projects, or bring gifts like toys, movies or games.

We welcome special guests! Kids really appreciate it - especially when they are unable to leave their room. Please take a moment to read our guidelines for special visitors, media, photography and gifts.