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Elliot Health System is a non-profit organization serving your healthcare needs since 1890.
Child Life Program

Child Life Program

A trip to the hospital is often a new and frightening thing for a child; big words, loud beeps, and lots of strangers. What if there was a person who was there to support your child and help them through the hospital experience through play and learning?

That is what Child Life Services are here for.


What is a Child Life Specialist?

Child Life SpecialistCertified Child Life Specialists are educated and clinically trained in the developmental impact of illness and injury. Their role helps improve patient and family care, satisfaction, and overall experience. Infants, children and teens confront a wide variety of stressful and potentially traumatic events that can impact their ability to cope. These experiences related to healthcare can lead to feelings of fear, confusion, loss of control and isolation that can inhibit their development and have negative effects on their physical and emotional health and well-being. In both healthcare and community settings, Certified Child Life Specialists help infants, children, teens and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, death and bereavement. They provide evidence-based, developmentally and psychologically appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, preparation for procedures, and education to reduce fear, anxiety, and pain.


Our Child Life Specialists

  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor's level degree in Child Life or a related field
  • Completed a rigorous internship of at least 480 hours
  • Hold national certification from the Association of Child Life Professionals
  • Through all of this training, they have expertise in the special needs of hospitalized children.

How can child life help my child?

  • Developmentally appropriate preparation for tests, surgeries, and other medical procedures using therapeutic language, play, and education.
  • Therapeutic medical play using special dolls, stuffed animals, and medical equipment
  • Helping children and families cope during medical procedures by using techniques such as deep breathing, guided imagery, and distraction.
  • Providing opportunities for play in the hospital setting by offering developmentally appropriate toys, games, and expressive art activities to continue normal growth and development.
  • Coordination of special events, holiday celebrations, and donations.
  • Coordination and supervision of: Music Therapy, Therapeutic Art, and Pet Therapy.
  • Support for siblings and children of adult patients
  • Bereavement support (Click here for more information on our Bereavement Committee)
Disclaimer: Some of these services may not be available at this time, due to infection prevention precautions set in place to ensure the health and safety of our patients, staff and community. If you have any questions, please contact Child Life.

Services that may not be available at this time:

  • Volunteer Services
  • Pet Therapy
  • The Playroom
    • However, your Child Life Specialist can bring toys from the playroom to your room in the hospital!

Child Life Services are currently only available at Elliot Hospital, located at 1 Elliot Way in Manchester, NH.