How will my child react to hospitalization?
How your child responds to hospitalization will depend on his or her age, development and past experiences. How you react may also affect your child. If your child asks a question, be honest with your answer. If you do not know the answer, tell your child you do not know and then ask your nurse, doctor or other health care team member for help.
Common responses based on your child’s age:
- Infants: Infants (newborn to 12 months) are often afraid of noise and strangers. Babies usually will calm with your voice and touch. Music, infant toys or mobiles may help distract or calm your infant.
- Toddlers: Toddlers (1 to 3 years) are often afraid to be alone and may also be afraid of strangers, darkness, loud noises, and big machines. Tell your child that it is OK to cry but that you will be there as much as possible. Use simple terms and special words. Toddlers like special toys and blankets from home and they enjoy stories or movies to help relieve some of their fears.
- Preschoolers: Preschoolers (3 to 5 years) may be afraid when you leave and may also be afraid of the dark, masks, and hospital equipment. Preschoolers want to know “why” things happen and will use their imaginations for answers. Be honest about tests and exams and use words that your child understands. Time “anchors” such as “after breakfast” will help explain when things will happen.
- School-age: School-aged (6 to 12 years) children can accept being apart from you. They are afraid of body harm, pain and the unknown. An illness or injury that makes them different from their friends causes stress. Encourage your child to ask questions. Use books and pictures to help explain the answers.
- Adolescents: Adolescents (13 to 18 years) have concerns about being different from their peers, pain, loss of control and the possibility of death. They want information and ask very specific questions. Answers should be complete and honest. Allow teenagers to make as many health care choices as possible.
What should I bring from home/what will my child have in the hospital?
- A favorite toy or blanket can provide comfort to your child.
- Pediatrics has a wide selection of movies for children and families to watch and each patient room has a VCR and a DVD player. Several video game players are also available along with video games.
- Older children and adolescents may prefer to listen to music or use their cell phones with parents’ permission.
- Your child may bring food from home if OK with his or her doctors and nurses.
What services are available at the hospital?
- Vending machines in the family lounge and first floor cafeteria. View Rapid City Hospital map
- Coffee and juice for family members
- Nourish Cafe open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
- Meal trays can be delivered to family members for $5 per meal
- Koffee at Kerry’s at the main entrance to the hospital
- Shower areas for family members; linens are provided
- A refrigerator is available for families
- An ATM machine is located in the lobby
- Wireless internet access throughout the hospital
- Free parking
- Parking valets are available at the main entrance