Child Life is a family-centered care profession that ensures that children who come to McKay-Dee Hospital have every opportunity to learn and grow naturally. Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) are developmental experts who work with patients and families to promote effective coping through play, self-expression activities, and age-appropriate medical preparation and education.

About Child Life at McKay-Dee Hospital:

Intermountain Nurse kneeling by child

What can Child Life Specialists do?

For patients (babies, children, and teenagers):
  • Prepare children for medical tests, treatments, and procedures
  • Provide distraction, play and support during tests and procedures
  • Provide relaxation techniques to deal with stress
  • Offer developmentally appropriate activities, such as:
    • Medical play to enhance coping
    • Therapeutic art activities
    • Daily bedside activities
    • Scavenger hunts around the unit
For siblings:
  • Provide education regarding patients hospitalization/diagnosis
  • Offer developmentally appropriate activities
  • Offer emotional support throughout the hospitalization
  • Medical play
For parents:
  • Provide emotional/coping support throughout the hospitalization
  • Offer tips and ideas for supporting children, patient and siblings, such as behavior modification tools, developmental information, and other support as necessary
  • Assist parents in communicating with the health care team
  • Offer support and resources for families during grief situations
Pediatric patient sitting cross legged smiling

Where do we work?

Our Child Life Specialist’s cover most areas of the hospital throughout their work day. Our main areas of focus currently are
  • Pediatrics
  • Emergency Department
  • Same Day Surgery
  • Pediatric Sedation Services
Additionally, Child Life has influence in the ICU, NICU, and Outpatient services. Child Life also offers grief services to families experiencing trauma or a significant loss. We host a session for siblings of NICU babies called ‘Ice Cream and Isolettes’ where we teach about the different reasons that their new sibling is hospitalized. Child Life also teaches a class for surgical patients in the Outpatient setting called ‘Party at the Pre-Op Drop’ where children can learn about surgery and address stress and anxieties relating to it. At the end of the class the children take an interactive tour of the facility.
Nurse listening to child heartbeat

How do I contact a Certified Child Life Specialist?

If you would like a Certified Child Life Specialist during your hospital stay you can call us at 801-387-4226, or by dialing 78623 on any hospital phone. Keep in mind that our Child Life Specialists are proactive about reaching out to families in need, but sometimes, due to high volume, not every patient can be seen immediately.
Boy playing with stethoscope

How can I help?

The Child Life Department is heavily supported by donations and all donations go directly to the patients and families who need them the most. Unsure what to donate? Check out our wish list.
Doctor examining girl

How do I become a Certified Child Life Specialist?

If you are interested in becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist see the section ‘Pursuing Certification’ on the Association of Child Life Professionals website. Our Child Life team wants to help advance the profession by offering a Child Life Practicum experience. Learn more here.
Pediatric patient sitting cross legged smiling

Child Life Practicum

The practicum experience at McKay-Dee Hospital provides students with the introductory opportunity to learn more about the Child Life profession.