Staying at SickKids
If your child is being admitted to SickKids for surgical and/or medical reasons, please read the following to make sure you are prepared. If your child is coming for a test, procedure or surgery requiring an anesthetic, please also visit our Coming for Surgery section of our website for more information.
If you need help at any time while you are in the hospital, you can ask someone at the Information Desk on the main floor in the Atrium (the new part of the hospital) or you can ask any of our staff.
What to bring:
- your child’s Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card
- other health insurance information or drug card
- your child’s pre-admission form
- any medicines your child is taking
- medical information, such as an X-ray, CT scan or vaccination record
- family doctor’s name and telephone number
- information about drug reactions or food allergies
- If you are separated or divorced, bring along any legal papers that show who has custody of your child and who can make decisions about your child’s care
- an immigration record, if your child was born outside of Canada
Things to bring from home:
- your child’s own clothes, including non-skid footwear and clothes for going home
- a few favourite toys, books, family pictures or a pillow to remind your child of home
- toiletries, like toothpaste, toothbrush, brush, comb, shampoo and soap
- any important medical aids such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, braces or crutches
- disposable diapers, diaper bag and a stroller
- lip balm for dry lips
- if you are staying with your child, a blanket, pillow and any clothing or personal items you will need for yourself
Remember to put your name on all personal items you bring.
Do not bring:
- latex balloons
- baby walkers
- small toys that can be swallowed
- toys that make sparks
- food with nuts
- fresh flowers or plants
- valuable items
When you arrive
When you arrive at SickKids, go directly to your unit. You can ask someone at the Information Desk in the Atrium for directions or use one of the multilingual information kiosks that can be found near entrances to the hospital. The touch-screen kiosks offer maps and directions in several languages. You can print the directions to help guide you along to your destination. A nurse will admit you and your child to the unit and will help you fill out forms and get settled in. We will make every effort to make your child’s stay as comfortable as possible.
You may be asked to complete a Health Equity Demographic Information Form. This form asks patients and their caregivers to provide demographic information, such as ethnicity, spoken language, gender and income. We are collecting this information to learn more about our patients and families, to help us plan and improve care and services, and to ensure that we are providing the best possible care for all. It is your choice to give SickKids this information. Patient care will not be affected if you choose not to fill out a form.
Ask your health-care team:
- how you can be involved in your child’s care
- how you can help your child adjust to being in hospital
- what you should expect during your child’s treatment and stay in hospital
- who will be caring for your child
- who you should call for information
Tell your health-care team:
- your child’s normal routines and preferences, such as food preferences or feeding routines, sleep routines and bathing preferences
- any special fears the staff should be aware of, such as fear of the dark, loud noises, needles
- any special words your child uses to name body parts, important objects or needs
- if your child uses any special aids such as glasses or a hearing aid
- how your child is likely to react in certain situations and effective strategies to help your child cope
- how you would like to be involved in your child’s care, such as bathing or changing diapers
Family Identification Badge
When your child is admitted, the information clerk or the nursing staff on your child’s unit will ask you to fill out a Family Identification Badge. For security purposes, always wear the ID badge during your child’s stay.
Patient ID band
A SickKids identification (ID) band must be worn on your child’s arm or ankle at all times. Check your child’s ID band to make sure the information is right. If your child is not wearing a band or has the wrong one, it can lead to errors that can result in the wrong care for your child. Staff must always check the band before providing care to your child. Your child must keep the band on at all times while at SickKids.
Staying in your child’s room
Most children have their own room with a day-bed for one parent. A nurse will provide you with linens for the day-bed and a towel. You should bring a pillow and blanket from home. Brothers and sisters cannot stay overnight in your child’s room.
- Ensure your child is always in a safe sleep environment:
- Children under two years of age must be in a crib.
- Infants should be on their back to sleep, unless another position is required for medical reasons.
- Always put the side rails up.
- Keep the crib clear of toys and blankets.
- Do not sleep in the same bed as your child.
- Do not leave your child in a stroller or car seat to sleep.
Please help your child select meals from the Meal Train menu you receive from the nurse. You can call extension 206622 from the telephone in your child’s room during the following hours to have the meal delivered. It will be delivered within 45 minutes of ordering.
- Breakfast: 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.
- Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Dinner: 4:15 to 6:15 p.m.
An employee from our Meal Train office will work with you to adjust the menu to meet your child’s specific diet and allergies. Vegetarian, kosher and halal meals are also available. Never share food or drinks with other children on the unit. Certain foods may be harmful.
Food can be delivered to parents through our guest tray program. Please ask the Meal Train office to send you a menu. You must pre-pay for your meal in the Terrace Café, located on the Main Floor of the Atrium.
Parents can also bring food from one of SickKids’ many food outlets or from outside, which can be stored in the fridge and heated in the microwave that is available on inpatient units. For more information, visit the Shop and Eat at SickKids page.
Breast pumps and sterile breast pump kits are provided on each inpatient unit at SickKids. Please ask your nurse for help when you wish to use the breast pump. Because sterile kits are required for each breast pump session, it is necessary to use SickKids’ breast pumps and kits while in hospital. You can continue to use your own breast pump and kits at home.
Breastfeeding rooms with a breast pump are located on the Main Floor of the Black Wing, Room M464, across from the Family Centre, and on the 7th floor of the Atrium, Room 7732. All supplies for pumping need to be brought to the breastfeeding room.
Two people, one of whom must be a health professional, must check the name, date of birth and hospital ID number on the breast milk container before feeding to ensure that it is your milk for your child.
Breast milk at SickKids is stored in a central freezer, in sterile plastic containers available on all inpatient units. Please be sure to take your breast milk home when your child is discharged. Ask your nurse to arrange this. Breast milk that has not been collected by one month from your child’s discharge will be discarded.
Lactation consultants are available if you are having difficulty breastfeeding and/or pumping breast milk. Please speak with your nurse or leave a message for the lactation consultant at 416-813-5757 (option 2).
Parents are welcome to come to SickKids at any time of the day or night. If you visit after 8 p.m., please use the Atrium entrance on Elizabeth Street. Visiting hours for others are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Your child can have up to four visitors at one time, including parents (or guardians).This may vary on each unit.
Healthy visitors only! Parents, family members and friends should not visit the hospital if they are sick or have been sick in the last week.
Family members, visitors and children over 12 years of age should check themselves for the following symptoms before they come to SickKids:
- new or unexplained cough
- unexplained shortness of breath
- diarrhea or vomiting
- runny nose/sneezing
Visitors 12 years of age and younger will be checked to make sure they are healthy and will be given a “badge of good health” sticker. Children who do not receive a sticker may be asked to come back when they are healthy again.
Free laundry machines are available for parents and patients, 24 hours a day, on the 4th floor, room 4308, across from Marnie’s Lounge. Please follow the posted rules.
All visitor entrances on the main floor are wheelchair accessible. SickKids has several wheelchair-accessible washrooms on the main floor. Both male and female washrooms in the Atrium have large change tables where children and teens can have diapers changed. There is another private wheelchair-accessible washroom with a large change table on the Service Floor of the Black Wing in Room S213, across the hall from Rehabilitation Services. Wheelchairs are available near the Atrium and University Avenue entrances.
Assistance dogs for children or parents with disabilities are allowed at SickKids. Please make sure they are clean and have up-to-date immunizations.
If you need an interpreter, please speak with your child’s nurse or doctor as soon as possible so they can call Interpreter Services to arrange for an interpreter. Please give us at least 24 to 48 hours notice to make it easier for us to find an interpreter for you.
Please wash your hands when you enter and leave the hospital, and before and after you visit, feed or provide care for your child.
Things you should know about SickKids
Parents are encouraged to be active participants in their child’s care and to assist the health-care team in developing the best possible treatment plan. With family-centred care, we:
- give you the information and support you need
- respect your family’s cultural and religious beliefs, traditions and ways of coping
- ask you to tell us about your child and make suggestions to us about caring for your child
- encourage you to ask questions and tell us about any concerns you have
Families, patients, visitors, staff and volunteers are expected to treat others with dignity and respect at all times.
Ensuring the privacy of children and families is of utmost importance to us. Staff will not discuss other patients or families with you. You are welcome to offer friendship and support to other parents and families, but please respect their wishes for privacy. For more information, visit the Privacy at SickKids page.
Training at SickKids
As one of the teaching hospitals for the University of Toronto, SickKids trains people from around the world to become doctors, nurses and other health-care workers. During your clinic visit, your child may be seen by one of these students. Be assured these students are well supervised by our professional staff.
Research at SickKids
SickKids conducts important research to help improve the lives of children now and in the future. While you are here, we may ask if you or your child would like to take part in one of our research studies. We will explain why we are doing the study and how it will work. Participation in research is voluntary. No matter what your choice, your child will get the same quality of care.
Please do not take photographs or videos of other patients or their families. Please ask permission before taking a photo/video of a staff member. Do not post photos/videos of staff, other patients or their families on the Internet, including social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or CarePages.
Smoking is not allowed on SickKids property, either inside or outside, including in the underground parking garage.
To reduce the potential for adverse health effects related to the use of fragrances, please do not wear, use or apply fragrances while at SickKids.