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Winthrop University Hospital

Child Life Program

Hospitalization can be a very frightening experience for a child of any age. That’s where Winthrop-University Hospital’s Child Life Program comes into play. The program was created to address the unique emotional and developmental needs of children, as well as their families, helping them cope with the anxiety hospitalization can cause. All children, whether just days old or in their teens, can benefit greatly from contact with one of Winthrop’s Child Life Specialists and trained volunteers.


Who are Child Life Specialists?

The Child Life Specialist is a person trained in child development and in meeting the special needs of children who are ill. Through play, education, and support, Child Life Specialists build a special, trusting relationship with the pediatric patient while helping them understand and adjust to hospitalization through age-appropriate explanations. You may find one of Winthrop’s Child Life Specialists at a patient’s bedside, in the Emergency Room, at Winthrop’s Cancer Center for Kids and at the Pediatric Specialty Center, holding a child’s hand during a medical procedure, calming the fears of anxious parents, or planning fun-filled activities for the kids. Contact with a Child Life Specialist is almost always guaranteed to take away a child’s tears, fears and loneliness.

The Child Life Playroom

The playroom is a designated “safe haven,” a place children can call their own away from tests, needles and treatments. The playroom serves as a social setting—where kids can just be kids. Pediatric patients can interact freely with other children and participate in supervised activities such as painting, drawing and reading. Video and computer games, as well as the playroom’s extensive library of donated movies, are also fun outlets for the kids during their hospital stay. In addition, children who are unable to go to the child life playroom are visited at bedside by a Child Life Specialist. Special visits from guests including sports celebrities, and weekly clown visits help to brighten the days of the patients. Activities such as dinner and a movie, arts and crafts projects, and programs for siblings and parents also make for a more positive experience.

Child Life Aims to…

  • Help the child overcome fear and anxiety.
  • Alleviate the long and short-term emotional effects of hospitalization.
  • Transform hospitalization from a potentially frightening experience into a positive one that promotes the child’s growth and development.
  • Provide the family with emotional support as well as answers to questions, serving as a link between the hospital and home.
  • Improve the child’s and family’s understanding of medical procedures through education and medical play.
  • Provide the hospitalized child with a sense of control over a seemingly uncontrollable situation.
For more information about the Child Life Program or to contact a Child Life Specialist please call (516) 663-2761 or e-mail Childlife@winthrop.org.
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Winthrop-University Hospital
259 First Street | Mineola NY 11501 | 516-663-0333


This site provides information as a resource. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
Always consult a physician or healthcare provider for treatment and guidance toward good health.
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