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Helping During Outpatient Procedures

When child life specialists help reduce the anxiety of our young patients and their parents, procedures can be made easier and faster for everyone.

For Imaging Services visits: Some radiology procedures or scans have to be done at the hospital because that is where the best equipment is located. When children come to the hospital they are often stressed by strange environments, fear of discomfort and the unknown, as well as the need to hold still during a time when they are already anxious. It can be especially hard for young children and children with special needs to undergo even simple radiology procedures. Child life specialists use special preparation, play, distraction and relaxation techniques to help children feel at ease and to build trust and cooperative skills during radiology procedures. Play and distraction techniques have been shown to reduce the need for sedation during MRIs and CT scans for some children. While some kids like listening to music or stories, others prefer daydreaming or holding special calming toys. A child life specialist works with each child and family individually to learn what coping skills work best and how we can help to increase comfort and decrease anxiety.

For IV starts: Our Child Life team teaches children and their caregivers distraction and relaxation techniques to help reduce the experience of pain or discomfort.

For Pain Management: When sedation cannot be used during a procedure, children can be taught non-pharmacological pain management techniques so that they can have a sense of mastery over their experience. Child Life Specialists teach children coping techniques, such as deep breathing and comfort holds with their parents, to help them feel more in control of their surroundings. 

What does a Child Life Specialist Do?

The Child Life Playroom and Garden

Tips for an Inpatient Stay at the Hospital

Helping Kids Cope

A Visit to the Pediatric Emergency Room

Preparation Tips by Developmental Age

Children with Special Needs

Preparation for Surgery 

After a Visit to the Hospital


Books and Websites for Kids and Families

Ways to Give and Volunteer