For a kid, coming to the hospital can be very scary. There are new people, new machines and many new sounds. But at Dayton Children's we work hard to make sure everything is "just right for kids." This means we have people working around the clock to ensure your child not only feels safe at the hospital, but that they can focus on their most important job... being a kid!
Our child life specialists focus on the emotional support and developmental needs of Dayton Children's patients and families. As part of a patient's healthcare team, child life specialists help a patient cope with illness, injury, treatment and procedures. The child life staff uses play, preparation, education and self-expression activities to help children understand why they are receiving medical care.
Learn more about:
How can child life benefit my child?
- Preparation: Child life can prepare patients for upcoming treatments and procedures through calming and educational activities.
- Coping and Support: Child life can accompany a patient to testing, procedures and treatments in order to offer support, distractions and pain management.
- Play activities: The child life department provides toys, play activities and crafts to continue normal growth and development.
Other services we offer:
- Three West activity center (Monday-Friday, 10:30 activity time)
- "Paw Prints" pet therapy program
- "Clown Crew" clown visits
- Art Cart
- Special events, visitors and entertainment
- Laptops for patient use
Child life collaborates with community groups or individuals who are interested in bringing smiles to our patients faces. These visitors positively impact patients by engaging them in activities or donating needed items from our wish list. For more information call the child life department at 937- 641-3303
Special events or group visits should be scheduled two weeks to one month in advance. Dates and times are limited and fill up fast.
Please keep in mind the following guidelines:
- Preferred group size is five people or less
- All participants must be age 15+
- Groups must be accompanied by a child life specialist or hospital volunteer
- No food, candy or latex balloons
- All photos require parent consent
- Allow 60 to 90 minutes for your group visit
- Our patients range in age from newborn to 21 years of age
Dayton Children’s is pleased to offer clinical experiences for college students pursuing the child life profession. We offer a practicum, which is a 100- hour introductory experience to the child life profession. Please refer to our practicum guidelines for more information. Download the application to apply now. If you have questions regarding student opportunities please contact the child life department at 937-641-3303.
Manager: Karen Muller, BS, CCLS
Rita Falkenbach. BS, CCLS
Kristy Rowe BA, CCLS
Laura McCallen, BS, CCLS
Lori Alfers, BS, CCLS
The child life department consists of certified child life specialists with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in human growth and development, education or a related field of study.
All certified child life specialists complete a 480-hour clinical internship, pass an examination and maintain professional development hours.
The child life specialists at Dayton Children's work in general pediatrics, critical care, hematology/oncology, medical imaging, emergency department and other areas when consulted.
For more information on the child life profession, visit www.childlife.org.
Child Life Practicum
Monday - Friday, 8:30 am- 5:00 pm
Superhero Day is just one example of how the child life specialists help make Dayton Children's a fun place for kids!