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Avera Children's Hospital

1325 S. Cliff Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57117
605-322-KIDS or 888-315-3666

Preparing for Your Child's Hospitalization

Staying in a hospital can be a frightening experience for a child. We hope to make your child's stay with us smooth and comfortable.

If someone is taking care of your children, it is important that you have arranged permission for that person to seek and authorize treatment for them. You can fill out this Caregiver Consent Form and leave it with the designated person.

Look below to view some helpful tips before you visit!

Tips - Before Your Child's Visit

How positive your child's visit will be greatly depends on preparation done before being admitted. Use these tips to make your child more comfortable before your visit:

  • You are the best person to comfort your child during the stay. Ask our staff what you can do to be more closely involved with your child's care.
  • Use simple language to explain the reason for hospitalization to your child. You should give more information and details to older children.
  • Be honest before and during the stay. Tell your child if there will be pain, how long the procedure will take, etc. It is important to keep your child's trust.
  • Reassure your child the hospital stay is not punishment of any type.
  • Turn packing for the visit into a special activity. Ask what toys your child wants to bring and bring those with. Label all items with your child's name.
  • Read and discuss stories about going to the hospital or play doctor with a stuffed animal.
  • Plan a homecoming party with the whole family for your child's return home!

Tips - During Your Child's Stay

These suggestions should make the duration of the visit a more positive experience for everyone involved:

  • When you have to leave, tell your child why you are leaving and when you will return.
  • Keep brothers and sisters informed at home since they will be worrying about their sibling.
  • Try arranging your absences when your child will be occupied with other activities.
  • Let your child keep a favorite security object, like a blanket or animal.
  • Put pictures of the family at your child's bedside.
  • Let your child know it's okay to feel frightened or angry.
  • Let your child release frustration and energy by walking, pounding toys etc.

What to Bring

Bring items with that will make both you and your child more comfortable during the stay! Here are some suggestions:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Pajamas, slippers and robe
  • Favorite toys or games
  • School work or books
  • Comfortable clothes and toilet articles for parents
  • Favorite videos (each room has a TV and VCR) - You can also check out videos from our in-house movie library

Recommended Reading

Reading stories about going to the hospital can prepare your child for what to expect and make the hospital, doctors and equipment friendlier. Here are some great recommendations for pre-visit reading based on age:

Books for Ages One to Eight Book Author
The Operation (tonsillectomy) E. Anderson
The Hospital Scares Me (broken ankle) E. Hogan
Jenny's in the Hospital (broken arm) E. Reit
Curious George Goes to the Hospital (operation) E. Rey
Going to the Hospital (general) E. Rogers
Jeff's Hospital Book (eye operation) Sobol
A Hospital Story (tonsillectomy) Stein
Elizabeth Gets Well (appendectomy) E. Weber
Books for Ages Eight to Twelve Book Author
My Hospital Book Coleman
The Hospital Book Howe
Things to Know Before You Go to the Hospital Marsoli

Additional Information

For more information about preparing for your child's hospitalization or to arrange a pre-admission tour, please call Avera McKennan's Children's Center at 605-322-3600.