What to pack for your child's hospital stay

All Woman

MOST times when parents take their children to the hospital they expect them to be treated and provided with medication to manage their illnesses at home. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and based on a thorough examination of the child as well as test results, the doctor may decide that your child's condition cannot be effectively managed at home or requires 24-hour monitoring from health care professionals.

Paediatrician Dr Anona Griffith said that while this can be difficult news for many parents as well as their children, there are a number of things that can be done to make the children's hospital stay less stressful and more comfortable.

“Each institution to which your child will be admitted will have its own requirements for items to take; these may also be age-specific,” Dr Griffith said.

“At the time of admission, the admitting nurse will go through the institution-specific requirements. However, there are other things that you may need to take to keep your child calm.”

She shares a list of basic supplies that you may need when going to the hospital and/or when your child is being admitted.

Health passport/ Immunisation records

You should always take this when going to the hospital or just for a regular doctor's visit. This is needed especially in the case of hospital visits where the child might not have a previous record , as the passport and/or immunization card will assist in the history taking process during admission, as medical history may or may not impact current admission.

Health or insurance cards

Not all medications are in Government hospitals and you may be required to do some tests outside of the hospital which will attract fees. You will be able to save money if you have your health cards on hand.

Records as well as current or recent medications

Whatever medical documentation or medication that your child is taking or recently completed should be taken to the hospital with you. In case you don't have the medication in hand, documentation of the name, as well as the dosing instructions or pictures of the containers and the labels are very helpful. Dr Griffith said that descriptions such as the “small pill and red or creamy liquid“ are often not very helpful. as many medications may have a similar presentation.

Personal care items






•Bath soap and hand sanitizer

•Skin care lotions or creams

•Washrags and towels

•Hair combs and brushes


•Special dietary foods


Items for your child's comfort

You should always take along your child's favourite age-appropriate toy and/or blanket. These will not only help to reduce the anxiety the child may feel during the period of illness, but they can be effective distractions, especially with needle based or other procedure that may result in some discomfort. For older children, Dr Griffith suggests that books, tablets or phones may offer well-needed distraction and comfort.

What NOT to take

Baby powder

Dr Griffith instructed that at no point at all should powder be used while admitted. She explains that it doesn't matter if it is medicated, it should be avoided because it may irritate other patients, especially those with respiratory conditions which are the most common reasons for hospital admission.


You may lose your valuables, because people come in and out of the hospital all the time. There is no guarantee of safety for these belongings and the hospital cannot be held accountable for your loss of property.

Prohibited foods

Do not take foods that the nurse and doctors asked you specifically not to feed your child. For example, if they allow you to give your child clear liquids only, do not give them grape juice just because it is their favourite. Also, if instructed not give your child food, do not feed them porridge or soup because you don't think they require chewing.




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