Hospital Stay with Your Kiddo? 6 Must-Have Items!

Heading to the hospital with kids for an inpatient stay can be super stressful, even if it is planned.  Our family recently had a short stay at The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.  We really are lucky to have them in our community, and they do children’s care right and do their very best to make your stay as comfortable as possible.  But no matter how attentive the staff or shiny the room, hospitals still are not inherently very comfortable places.  The floors are cold, there are strange noises, and you never know if the room will be too hot, too cold, or somewhere in between.  Most people think about things like tablets, books, chargers for your electronics, and personal care items, but here are a few things that I found VERY helpful during our stay that you might not think of when headed for a planned hospital stay.

  • Thick, warm socks or slippers

    • The floors in hospital rooms are always cold, and no one likes to wear shoes all day long. But walking on the floor in bare feet is kind of gross, and I was very happy to have a good pair of slippers for my feet, especially in the evenings.
  • Power strip or multiple outlet plug (bonus if it has USB connectors for charging cords)

    • There are a lot of outlets in hospital rooms, but somehow there are never really enough, especially if you have IV poles and other medical equipment to plug in along with your electronic devices.  Plus they are never really in the right places.  We brought one like this adapter, but next time I would probably grab one like this one that has USB connectors, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about rotating charging blocks.
  • Extra blankets and pillow, both for the parent AND the kiddo

    • Hospital pillows are crinkly and thin, and hospital blankets just are not very warm.  I was really glad that I have brought my own pillow and my kid brought his special blanket, but I didn’t bring myself any blankets.  The staff brought me as many as I wanted, which was awesome. But it would have been nice to have something thick and comfortable from home.
  • Sleeping pad or mat (for the parent)

    • Our hospital room had a couch that folded down into a bed, for which I was thankful.  But…it was not at all comfortable.  Our first night nurse was awesome and helped me to lay down several blankets over the surface and then cover with a sheet.  This helped some but next time I definitely will bring a sleeping pad or mattress pad with us to make sleeping a little more comfortable.
  • Earplugs or noise canceling headphones/headbands

    • Hospitals are noisy, even at night.  There are strange beeps and boops in the hallway and sometimes the sounds of sirens from outside.  My kiddo and I were both very happy to have disposable earplugs for sleeping.
  • Portable speaker

    • This was something I threw in the bag last minute and I was really glad I did.  You can only play so many video games or watch so much TV.  Having a speaker in the room meant we could throw on a podcast or some familiar music from my phone while we played Lego’s or a game.

No matter how great it is, nothing can truly make a hospital room home.  Hopefully if you ever to have to hang out overnight with your kiddo these things can help make the stay a little more comfortable.

If you’ve had to stay in the hospital with your child, what unexpected things have you found made the stay easier?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Sarah Bengtson
Sarah is a proud Iowa native who currently lives in North Liberty with her husband and 2 sons. She grew up in rural Benton county and moved to the Iowa City area in 2005 to attend graduate school at the University of Iowa in Physical Therapy. Now she balances raising two growing boys with a work as a pediatric physical therapist. Outside of work and family, Sarah loves music, playing her cello, running, baking, crochet, church activities, and cheering for the Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Vikings.


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