Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

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Child Life Services

Providing positive health care experiences


At Mary Bridge, we know that children need more than medicine to get well.
That’s why we are committed to providing positive health care experiences for the children we serve. Since a hospital can be a scary place for a child, the Child Life Services department is here to help children and their families to cope during their experience at Mary Bridge. From pre-surgery tours to activity time, special visitors to therapeutic play, our specially trained staff gives patients the chance to just be kids while they’re in the hospital. 

What is a Child Life Specialist?
A Child Life Specialist is unique to a children’s hospital setting. The goal of Child Life Specialists is to minimize the stress and anxiety of children and families receiving medical care.

What child life specialists do:

  • Help patients prepare for procedures or surgery through medical play
  • Increase patient’s understanding of their diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care
  • Provide pre-operative tours
  • Provide developmentally appropriate play opportunities
  • Offer distractions and coping strategies for kids
  • Help siblings understand their brother’s/sister’s illness, surgery or injury
  • Educate parent/caregiver on effects of their children’s conditions related to their development


Volunteers are essential to our Child Life team. Mary Bridge has a great staff of well-trained volunteers who assist with play activities for children.

Activity Rooms
The playroom is located on the 6th floor of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. The playroom provides a safe place for the kids to take a break from their medical routine.

Computers with Internet access are available for patient and family use in our Family Resource Room on the 6th floor and in the Family Net Connect on the 7th Floor. All patient rooms are wireless internet compatible.

Pre-Surgery Tours
Pre-surgery tours are designed to introduce the surgery experience to children two years and older and their families in a relaxed atmosphere. A Child life specialist will lead your tour and answer any questions you or your child might have. Tours are available for day surgeries and in-patient surgeries requiring an overnight stay. To schedule a tour, call 253-403-5315.

For more information about Child Life Services at Mary Bridge, call 253-403-5315 or 800-552-1419 ext. 5315.


Going to the Hospital?

Read some good books with your child to help them prepare for their visit:

    * Clifford Visits the Hospital by Norman Bridwell

    * Going to the Hospital by Anne Civardi

    * Matthew Takes His Shot (diabetes) by Owen Coleman

    * Miffy in the Hospital by Patricia Crampton

    * Tubes in my Ears by Virginia Dooley

    * Let’s Talk About When You Have Your Tonsils Out by Melanie Apel Gordon

    * Good-Bye, Tonsils by Juliana Lee Hatfield

    * Franklin Goes to the Hospital by Sharon Jennings

    * KoKo’s Big Earache by Vicky Lansky

    * Chris Gets Ear Tubes by Betty Pace

    * Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margret Rey

    * Going to the Hospital by Fred Rogers

    * A Big Operation by Richard Scarry