No parent wants to think about their child needing to be admitted into the hospital, but the reality is more than 3 million children in the US are hospitalized each year. If your child must spend time in the hospital, there are a few things you can pack in an overnight bag to help make your child’s stay a little less frightening and a little more comfortable and secure:
- A security object: Being in a strange place is scary for any child so having a favorite teddy bear or soft security blanket can help your child feel safer. Some hospitals even allow you to bring in favorite crib mobiles or toys so your baby feels as if he or she is sleeping at home. Don’t feel shy—ask.
- A blanket and/or pillow: Hospital sheets and blankets can be rough and are not washed in baby-friendly detergent. Babies or young children with sensitive skin may feel the irritating effects. By bringing your child’s own linens, you help reduce the chances of your little one developing a skin irritation or rash.
- Pajamas: While hospitals provide gowns or pajamas, they are often not the right size and can be uncomfortable. Depending on your child’s medical problem, pajamas from home may be allowed. And don’t forget a pair of slippers or padded socks in case your child can or wants to walk around. Hospital floors can be cold.
- Favorite snacks: Hospitals may attempt to cater to children’s taste buds, but often the food is unappetizing and unfamiliar. Bringing healthy snacks from home can help your child regain strength and a happier mood. Just remember to ask your child’s doctor or nurse before giving your child any food from home to be sure there are no dietary restrictions because of your child’s medical condition.
- Toys and games: Bringing items such as coloring books, small toys, or DVDs can help make the time pass faster.
Most hospitals provide items such as diapers, formula, toiletries, and all the medications your child will need. Your job as the parent or guardian of a hospitalized child is to provide a comforting and safe environment as your child gets well.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, January 2019
- Over three million children are hospitalized in the US each year.
- Security objects, linens and pajamas from home can help make the stay more comfortable.
- Healthy snacks from home can help your child regain her strength.
- Toys and games from home can help pass the time.