Child Life Program

A hospital stay can be a stressful experience for a child. Children miss home and normal everyday life. They may experience fear, confusion, and unfamiliarity with events. Children deserve to understand what is happening to them.

With the help of the Child Life team, children can work on mastering these feelings and medical experiences through play, education and support. The child life team plays a crucial role in supporting children and their families by helping them cope with and adjust to the stressors of illness and hospitalization. Child life provides opportunities for building independent behavior and retaining self-esteem. They provide a continuation of regular daily activities to promote normal growth and development. In addition, the team offers diversional activities that allow for creativity and self-expression.

To contact us, call: 410-328-7440

Who Are We?

The child life team consists of Certified Child Life Specialists and Child Life Assistants. As professionals trained to work with children in medical environments, Child Life Specialists have bachelor's or master's degrees in the areas of child life, child health, child development, family studies or recreation therapy. Child Life Specialists work closely with the medical team to address the developmental and psychosocial needs of children and families. Child Life Assistants are responsible for running our activity rooms and assist the specialists with providing activities for children at bedside.

What Services Do We Offer?

Developmentally Appropriate Activities

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Play is an important part of children's lives. Children use play to learn about the world. During times of stress, such as hospitalization or medical treatment, play can provide a safe outlet for emotional expression and processing of experiences. This helps children cope more positively with the experience while promoting optimal development and mastery of the experience. Play is strongly encouraged as a vital part of children's hospitalization and recovery. The child life program offers a playroom and teen room where children and teens can relax and play. Both rooms are "ouch free zones" where medical exams and other stress provoking events are prohibited.


The University of Maryland Children's Hospital offers both practicum and internship opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in Child Life.

If you are interested in learning more about Child Life as a specialty, the Child Life Council website at is a great resource.

Want To Help?

Click here for the University of Maryland Children's Hospital's Child Life wish list.

For more information or to contact the Child Life team, call 410-328-7440.