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Oishei Children's Hospital
818 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

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Child Life Department

Child Life specialist with young childThe role of the Child Life Department is to provide support, facilitate coping, minimize emotional trauma and encourage normal growth for infants, children and adolescents who are hospitalized. The department’s goal is to promote positive hospitalization for children and their families. Child Life Specialists help children and their families cope with fear and anxiety that accompany with medical encounters.

More information about child life

Importance of Play

Play provides a non-threatening experience for children to express feelings and gain control of situations. Child Life encourages patients to play while in the hospital to provide a safe and familiar environment despite stressful surroundings.


  • Provide age-appropriate play, creative arts, social interactions and other activities, encouraging mastery, coping, and expression of feelings.
  • Bridge the gap between home and the hospital by providing familiar activities.
  • Ease children’s fears and anxiety that is often associated with being in the hospital.
  • Prepare and support patients and families during their medical experiences in terms that they can understand.
  • Serve as a resource for patients, families, and other staff regarding child development and the needs of children undergoing a medical experience.
  • To encourage children and adolescents to maintain a sense of independence, self-esteem, and control.
  • To provide essential life experiences/reestablish familiar routines which are developmentally important yet may be disrupted while being hospitalized.

Services Offered

  • Individualized and Age Appropriate Pre-Procedural Teaching
  • Pre-Hospitalization Tour
  • Bereavement Support
  • Developmental Appropriate Activities for the Bedside and in the Playroom
  • Dog Therapy
  • Family Support
  • Holidays/Birthday Celebrations
  • Medical Play/Education
  • Procedural Accompaniment/Distraction
  • Special Guests and Entertainment
  • Supervision of Child Life Volunteers and Interns