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Staying with my child in hospital

You can usually stay with your child in hospital.

Staying in hospital can be frightening, particularly for children. They're suddenly in a very different place, surrounded by people they don't know.

New sights, sounds and smells can be scary for a child. Being there as much as you can will help them cope better.

If you can stay overnight, ask staff to arrange an extra bed or mattress for you.

Some hospitals have accommodation nearby that you can use while your child is in hospital.

Tell your child what's happening

If you can stay with your child, let them know that you'll be there with them.

Some people may not be able to stay with their child. For example, if:

  • they have other children
  • their child is in hospital for a long time
  • they have to go to work

If you can't stay with your child or you have to go, talk to them beforehand and let them know what's happening.

Tell them how long you'll be gone for and make sure you're back on time.

How to prepare your child for hospital

Staying in hospital will be easier for your child if they have an idea of what to expect.

If your child has been referred to hospital for planned treatment, you may have time to prepare them.

Explain to your child that hospitals are a safe place to be, and that doctors and nurses are there to make them feel better.

Using a book can help your child feel at ease. There are many good children's books about hospitals. Ask at your local bookshop for ideas.

Video: how to prepare for your child's hospital stay

This video is a practical guide on how to prepare for your child going into hospital.

Media last reviewed: 16 April 2021
Media review due: 16 April 2024

Further information

Page last reviewed: 29 July 2022
Next review due: 29 July 2025