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Child Life Services

Who are Child Life Specialists?

Child life specialists are professionals who are trained to help children and their families understand and cope with healthcare experiences.

Child life specialists have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree, with an educational background that includes child development, medical terminology, and the effects of hospitalization on children and families. In addition, child life specialists are affiliated with the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP), a nonprofit organization that establishes and maintains professional standards for the child life profession.

How Can A Child Life Specialist Help Your Child and Family?

Child life specialists are skilled in providing developmental, educational, and therapeutic interventions for hospitalized children and their families. In keeping with University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s family-centered care philosophy, child life specialists support growth and development while recognizing family strengths and individuality, and respecting different methods of coping.

Child life specialists help minimize stress and anxiety for patients and families through:

  • Preparation for tests, surgeries, and other medical procedures using developmentally appropriate tools and language
  • Support during medical procedures with parental involvement, individualized coping plans, and comfort positioning
  • Therapeutic play activities to help normalize the hospital environment
  • Medical play to help children become more comfortable and familiar with medical equipment and procedures within the hospital
  • Activities for normal growth and development
  • Support to siblings when coming to the hospital as well as information for families to help siblings cope at home
  • Support for children and families during times of grief and bereavement
  • Surgery tours to help both the child and family understand what to expect
  • Advocacy for patients and their families

Where Do Child Life Specialists Work at Rainbow?

Child life specialists work with patients and families in many inpatient and outpatient areas at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.