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Child Life

Child Life at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital helps children cope with the adjustments of being in a hospital by providing a variety of play experiences. These activities help both children and families gain a greater understanding of medical procedures, which helps reduce stress and fear of the unknown. Through play, the child life specialist helps facilitate the emotional and social growth of a child during the crisis of illness.

In collaboration with the Yale New Haven medical staff, a certified child life specialist is available to all children in the hospital and in our clinics to provide:

  • Medical play, which helps children learn about various tests, procedures and surgeries and corrects any misconceptions children may have.
  • Distraction techniques to minimize the stress during an examination or procedure. These techniques can be as simple as blowing bubbles or having a favorite toy nearby, which make the hospital a little less scary and the procedure a little bit easier.
  • Expressive activities that encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings about their hospital experience.
  • Developmentally appropriate information and preparation about medical procedures.
  • Support for the child and family during medical procedures and examinations.

Art and recreational activities are offered in playrooms, as well as medical play, magic shows and holiday celebrations. Patients of all ages are welcome. If a child cannot come to a playroom because of activity restrictions or isolation precautions, a child life specialist can provide recreational and therapeutic activities at the bedside.

Hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. For more information, please call (203) 688-2334.

Learn more about interning in the Child Life department at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital

Bridgeport Hospital Campus

Child life specialists are also available at the Bridgeport campus. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, please call (203) 384-3628.

Our Services

Arts for Healing

Arts for Healing programs at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital offer children creative expression through daily group activities and individual sessions with our team of professional artists, and art and music therapists.

Read more about the Arts for Healing Program

Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit

What is a smile on a child's face worth, especially if that child is ill and in the hospital? We knows how hard it is for children and their families to deal with an illness and hospitalization.

Read more about the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit

Siblings Program

When a child is ill or has other special needs, the whole family is affected. Parents struggle with their own emotions, as well as the added effort of caring for that child.

Read more about the Siblings Program

Contact Us

Child Life department at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital
(203) 688-2334

Child life at Bridgeport Hospital
(203) 384-3628