It's one of the scariest places for anyone, let alone a child. Here are some tips for parents on how to keep their child calm while they are in the hospital.
More than 5 million children are admitted into the hospital every year, according to a report from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. This experience can cause great anxiety. Not only for the child, but for the parents as well.
A hospital stay is never easy.
"A lot of times, kids come in and they are really nervous. They are in a strange environment and meeting a brunch of new people," said Ellen Earl, CCLS, a Child Life Specialist at Arnold Palmer Hospital.
Preparation is key. If parents can explain to their kids where they are going and why they are going there, kids can be a little less anxious. Another thing that can help is to bring comfort items from home, such as blankets or toys.
"That way when the child separates from their parents, it's not a difficult separation, because they have those items from home that are comforting for them," Earl said.
Finally, if you have other children, some hospitals offer children play areas to keep siblings occupied while parents talk to doctors and focus on the other child's hospital stay.
Also, remember to talk to the other children about what's happening with their sibling.
Ask for a list of red flags from the doctor to look for when a child is discharged from the hospital. A parent is always the best expert on their child. If something doesn't look or feel right, never be afraid to say so.
If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at www.ivanhoe.com.