The Child Life Program at Children’s of Alabama recognizes that illness and hospitalization are stressful events in the lives of children and their families. By using age appropriate education, preparation and supportive activities, we strive to minimize that stress and help children and their families cope positively with their healthcare experience.
Child Life Specialists are part of the health care team. They are professionally trained in understanding and meeting the unique needs of children and teens in the healthcare environment. 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 field. The Child Life Council provides professional certification for Child Life Specialists (CLS).
Familiar and fun activities can help children feel less anxious about their fears and concerns related to unfamiliar surroundings, people and events. Our inpatient activity rooms provide toys, games, art, books, movies and music to help children feel more comfortable while in the hospital. We offer age-appropriate activity rooms including an infant/toddler room, a school-age room, and a teen room.
Our Child Life Assistants supervise the activity rooms while facilitating group and individual activities. Our Child Life Assistants also provide age-appropriate activities for patients at bedside.
Activity Centers are located on 9 Harbert.
Infant and Toddler (ages 0-4)—205-638-9276
School-age (ages 5-11)—205-638-9886
Teen (ages 12 and up)—205-638-6840
And 5 Dearth (All ages) —205-638-2448
- Preparing children, teens and families for hospitalization, procedures, and surgeries in ways they can understand.
- Coordinating a pre-operative visit to help prepare your child for surgery.
- Providing emotional support during and after procedures or stressful events.
- Providing opportunities for medical play, helping children better understand the health care experience by addressing misconceptions and answering questions about their experiences.
- Providing play opportunities and peer interactions in the playroom, the adolescent activity room and at bedside.
- Providing sibling support, including education regarding patient’s diagnosis, treatment, and the hospital environment.
- Advocating for family-centered-care.
- Offering emotional support to parents, siblings, and other family members.
- Coordinating holiday, entertainment, donations, and special visitor events to encourage normal development and a sense of FUN in spite of challenging circumstances.
- Facilitating school re-entry.
- Coordinating volunteers to give families breaks, help provide infant stimulation, and play activities
Our Child Life Team works to help children and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury, disability, and hospitalization by:
- Promoting normal growth and development through therapeutic and recreational play
- Providing opportunities to help children increase their self-esteem and maintain appropriate independence
- Advocating for non-medical needs of patients and families
- Increasing patients' and families' understanding of hospital experiences
Children’s of Alabama
Department of Family Services
Child Life Program
1600 7th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233