The HSC Health Care System logo: Blue diamond with a white half heart, yellow stylized stick figures of man, woman, and child standing in the heart and the HSC Pediatric Center written at the bottomThe HSC Pediatric Center, The HSC Health Care System and Health Services for ChildrenA set of three pictures: the one on the left shows a social worker hugging a child, the one in the middle shows a girl smiling and the third one shows a group of standing children clapping
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A child standing playing with a Scoobie Doo toy.What Is a Child Life Specialist?

A child life specialist is a trained individual who focuses on the emotional and developmental needs of children and families. Through the use of play and other forms of communication, a child life specialist seeks to reduce the stress associated with healthcare experiences and enables children and families to cope in a positive manner.

What does Child Life do at The HSC Pediatric Center?

  • Serves as an integral member of the healthcare team
  • Provides activities to encourage copping and an understanding of the medical setting through medical play.
  • Promotes the development of infants on Preemie Express through appropriate developmental play.
  • Supports parents by providing knowledge on how to support their child and other family members while in the hospital
  • Offers sibling education on patients condition and the hospital setting
  • Provides patients with support and distraction during painful procedures, therapy sessions, or dressing changes.
  • Helps support medical staff with patient education
  • Assists in the transition school aged patients from other hospitals
  • Gives comfort care to patients who are experiencing a difficult time and need extra support
  • Educates patients on their conditions and tries to alleviate any patient misconceptions of hospitalization or illness

Child Life Specialists are involved in the following programs at The HSC Pediatric Center:

  • Preemie Express
  • Transitional Care
  • Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation
  • Palliative Care Team

Professional Credentials

The Child Life Specialists employed by The HSC Pediatric Center have earned Bachelor of Science Degrees in Child Life from accredited colleges or universities. Each individual has met of all of the requirements and passed the Child Life Council Certification examination or eligible for certification and are waiting to sit the examination.

Professional Affiliations

Child Life Council –

National Association for the Education of Young Children


For more on Child Life, call (202) 635-4499


© 2009 The HSC Pediatric Center
1731 Bunker Hill Road, NE • Washington, D.C. 20017 • 202-832-4400 • 1-800-226-4444
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