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Inside Pediatrics Podcast

Birmingham, Ala. (March 6, 2024) — Children’s of Alabama is recognizing child life specialists during the month of March.

March is Child Life Month, a time to recognize the impact child life specialists have on hospitalized children. Child Life Specialists are trained child development professionals who help children and their families with the medical process. 

At Children’s, the Child Life Team recognizes that illness and hospitalization are stressful events in the lives of children and their families. By using developmentally appropriate education, preparation and supportive activities, the team strives to minimize that stress and help children and their families cope positively with their healthcare experience.

“We recognize that it can be a very stressful and challenging time,” said Noelle Connor, a child life specialist at Children’s of Alabama. “It can be filled with uncertainty, and it can be filled with scary procedures, and it can be painful at times. We want to help children cope with that.”

Child Life Specialists are part of the healthcare team. All Child Life Specialists are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in child life, child development, child and family studies, or related fields. The Association of Child Life Professionals provides professional certification for Child Life Specialists.

Most of the tools, materials, and equipment used by Child Life Specialists are available thanks to the generosity of Spire. Spire has been a donor to the Child Life Program for several years. Recently, the company sponsored the annual Valentine’s Day card drive and matched donations collected during the drive.

“The Child Life program at Children’s of Alabama is something that all of us at Spire are passionate about supporting,” said Joe Hampton, president of Spire Alabama, Mississippi, and Gulf Coast. “The incredible work they do to enrich the lives of their patients has an impact on the whole community. That’s something we strive to do at Spire as well.”

This month,  Spire also sponsored a teddy bear clinic for patients. The clinic gives patients a chance to reverse the role of a caregiver. Patients meet their new stuffed animal at “admissions,” and they take their teddy bear through procedures that they are experiencing daily. They support their new friend as they move from triage to surgery.