Just for Kids Section

Hospital Life

Emergency Department (ED)
Sometimes you will get sick very quickly, you will be taken to our Emergency Department. This is a special area where children and adolescents who get sick very quickly are treated by a care team. Our care team has special training to look after young people like you. Sometimes they will treat you and be able to send you home and sometimes you may have to stay with us a little longer.
Emergency Department - Children's

Out Patient Department (OPD)
If you are coming to our Out Patient Department in the hospital your parents or carers will be asked to bring you on a certain day. This is like a visit to your own doctor. The doctor you will meet will know a lot about your illness and will talk to you and your parents about your treatment. Sometimes he/she may order some tests or arrange a date for you to get treatment in hospital.
Around 30,000 children attend the outpatients every year so it can be very busy. We have toys, games, TV, a fish tank and sometimes Arts and Crafts to help with your wait but you can also bring your own book or game.


Where you can find us: Enter via the main entrance, take the first right (past the toilets) and right again. Check in at reception (Lego desk). Our Blood Test/Phlebotomy Room is located in the left hand corner of the waiting room (by the Lego desk). Attach your child's blood form to a numbered card, place in the wall mounted box and take a seat. Around 9,000 children attend for a blood test every year. To find out more on the Children's Outpatient Department click on the link below: Outpatient Services

Day Ward

When you stay with us for one day you are called a day patient (because you come in, get your treatment, stay for a while to recover after your treatment and then go home all in one day.)
When you are staying as a patient for more than one day you are called an ‘inpatient’, (because lucky you, you get a chance to spend a little longer with us in the National Children’s Hospital!)
Click on this link for more on Day ward services: Beech Day Ward- Children's

X-Ray Department
Sometimes your doctor will need an X-Ray, scan or ultrasound to help you get better, when this is needed you go to the X-Ray Department. The X-Ray Department is located on the ground floor across from the Emergency Department. Entering via the main entrance, take the second right (between the lifts) and walk down the main hall (Hospital Street) until you come to the Zebra Crossing (Black and White strips on the floor). Then turn left, the reception is just inside the door on the right. 

X-Ray can be very busy as they look after children from the Emergency and Outpatient Departments as well as the wards. An X-ray is a picture that enables us to see your bones, a Radiographer takes the x-ray and a Radiologist looks at them and sends a report to your doctor. To learn more about x-rays please click on this link: X-Ray (Radiology) - Children's.

kids3    	 kids4

What To Bring With You


When you first visit the hospital you should bring your own night clothes, dressing gown, slippers and other items such as a toothbrush, hairbrush, towel, facecloth, etc. Nappies should be brought in for infants.You can also bring a few favourite toys or books with you. We have toys in the hospital too but sometimes it is nice to bring some of your own from home but keep in mind that we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to them.

Questions About You and What You Like
When you first come to the ward, the nurse will ask you lots of questions: your name, age, school, what you like to eat and drink, what you like to do during the day, when you go to bed and also who will be staying with you. This helps us to get to know you so that we can make sure your stay with us is as pleasant as possible.

When Can People Visit You?
We encourage parents to visit and stay with you whenever they can, day or night. Up to two people can visit you at the same time, this does not include your parents. Your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends may be able to visit, but they should check with the nurses in charge first. Visitors should be 18 years old or accompanied if a minor. Sometimes there may be visiting restrictions imposed. While a full explantation may not be able to be given by the nurse, for confidentially reasons, we would appreciate your understanding.

Can Your Parents Stay At Night?
We have a place where your parent’s can stay close to you at night. If your parent’s want to stay in the same room as you we will do our best to give them a  camp bed that they can put beside your bed. This camp bed is folded away in the morning so the floor can be cleaned. We also have special bathrooms and shower rooms for your parents if they are staying overnight.  We have a limited number of parents rooms near the ward where parents of older children may wish to stay. Ask the ward nurse when you arrive if one is free. For safety reasons children, siblings or visitors can't go into this area at any time.

You can't escape school!! Yes, there is a school in the National Children’s Hospital. It is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 2.30pm during term time. A qualified primary school teacher teaches in this school. The school has lots of fun things to do and it also has computers. If you are able to go to school you will get to meet other children who are also being treated. We have a special internet connection with other children in other hospital schools, so you will be able to talk to young patients from all over Ireland – now doesn’t that sound fun!
Click for Link to School

Advice for Parents

For you and your children

These are a number of stories for you and your child to read together to help you both understand what their hospital stay will involve.

Ben's Grommets
Charlie the Clown goes to Theatre
Chloe falls and breaks a bone
Goodbye Tonsils
Lulu goes to Hospital
Neddy the Nebuliser
X-Ray Scans

General Information
These leaflets aim to give parents an understanding of what to expect when they and their child visit the hospital.

Afternoon Surgery
Coming into Hospital
Morning Surgery
Neurology Service
Neuromusuclar Clinic
Outpatient's service

Blood tests
To book your appointment from July 21st 2015 please refer to


The Children's Blood Test Room is located in the Children's Outpatient Department (OPD) on the ground floor of the hospital. Enter via the main entrance, take the first right (past the toilets) and right again into the Children's OPD main reception.

Opening Times:

  • 8am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4.30pm on Monday - Thursday
  • Friday 8am-12.15pm

These times may vary slightly on the day due to patient/clinic demands.

Please ensure that you bring all blood forms for your child with you to the hospital. Blood tests cannot be undertaken without the proper paper work to accompany the sample to the laboratory.

These leaflets outline a number of different illnesses/injuries that may affect your child. They are designed to give you, the parent, a better understanding of your child's illness. They should also help you identity different symptoms your child may have.

Buckle Fracture
Chronic Headache
Febrile Convulsion
First seizure
Gastro Oesphageal Reflux
Head Injury
Iron Deficiency
Latex Allergy
Osgood Schlatters Disease
Sever's Disease
Sprains and Strains
Toilet Training
Urine Collection

The pamplets found below are designed to inform parents about possible procedures a child may undergo while in hospital

Lumbar Puncture
Micturating Cystogram
Ph Probe
Sickle Cell Testing
X-Ray Barium Swallow Meal

These leaflets are designed to help you care for your child after they have left the hospital. They also contain information on a number of different types of inhalers your child may need to use.

Blue Aerochamber
Flying in a Cast
Following Appendicectomy
Ingrown Toenail
Managing your childs pain at home
Plaster Cast Advice
Respiratory Easi Breathe Inhaler
Respiratory Metered Dose Inhaler
Respiratory Easi Breathe with Optimiser
Soft Plaster Cast Care
Respiratory Symbicort Turbohaler
Turbohaler for Pulmicort and Bricanyl
Volumatic Multiple Breath Technique
Volumatic Single Breath Technique
Wound Care Advice Sheet
Yellow Aerochamber

Who You Meet

People who work in our hospital and the uniforms they wear.

There are around 2500 staff working in this hospital to help you get better. Here is a list of staff that you may see on your visit to us and the uniforms that they wear. Some staff, like doctors, do not wear uniforms however all staff have a hospital identification (ID). If someone comes up to you or your child ask them to show you their hospital ID. If they do not have one please contact a member of staff.

Catering Staff / Household Staff
There are over 1,300 patients that need to get their meals served to them everyday. There are a lot of people who work to make sure that you get all your meals on time The catering staff  prepare the food and the household staff bring breakfast, dinner and tea  to you each day. There are also around 2500 staff in the hospital and they look after them too.

Chaplains are here to provide spiritual and non spiritual support. You can get a chaplain of your own religion when in hospital.

Cleaning Staff
These are the people who keep the rooms and building clean and bright. It is very important that a hospital is kept clean so your stay will be more pleasant. When most people are gone home they work late into the evening to get the place clean and tidy for all the patients and visitors.

Clerical Staff
There are clerical staff in many departments within the hospital, very often these will be the first people you will come in contact with when you arrive. Our clerical staff do not wear a uniform.

Dietitians are experts on eating, drinking and feeding. They may visit to make sure that your eating and drinking is normal,sometimes you may need a special diet. They may order special foods for you, or they might give you special milkshakes and drinks if you need a boost of energy. The dietitians in this hospital do not wear a uniform.

There are lots of types of doctors in our hospital. Those that look after children have been given special training. During your visit you will see the consultant and his/her team. The team consists of a registrar, senior house officer and intern. They are all here to make you better.

We have a fundraising department that arrange fun events like the Odlums Pancake Party, Dublin 98 Radiothon, walks and runs. All the money raised goes to buy new equipment and toys for us. They work hard to make your visit to our hospital nicer and our job looking after you easier. They have there own section on the main children's webpage. Why not visit and see what they have planned for this year.
Click for link to Fundraising

Health Care Assistants
Health Care Assistants help the nurses with your care while you are with us.

Materials Management
Staff from materials management provide everything we need to look after you during your stay with us, they buy everything from crayons to beds for us. They then bring it to the wards for us and put it away in out presses.

Clinical Nurse Manager
	 kids16Student and Staff Nursekids17Student Nurse Coordinator

There are lots of types of nurses who have been trained to look after you. You will always be told the name of the nurse who is looking after you. Our nursing team in a hospital consists of student nurses, staff nurses, student nurse coordinators and the clinical nurse manager who is in charge of the ward. 

Nurse Specialist
Nurse specialists are nurses with special skills and training in a certain area; you might meet them here during your visit. An example of one of these nurses is Annamma (photo above) who works in Dermatology (skin conditions) but there are 22 more nurses like her working in 16 specialised areas in our hospital. 

Sometimes your doctor will ask for a picture to be taken to help in your care, this allows them to watch some illnesses more closely. We have a specially trained person who takes these pictures and he also comes to take "fun" photos for us too. 

Physiotherapists will show you lots of types of exercises that you need to do to help you get better. It is not always hard work and can be fun! 

Hospital Play Specialists
Our Play Specialists are trained and skilled in helping children to play and have fun when they stay with us. Playing gives a routine to your day and lets you have fun during your stay. Play Specialists use child friendly language to talk about your stay and use role play to help you learn more about your treatments.  They also work with your parents to come up with great ways to distract you while having treatments and playing can make us all feel better.  Once your treatment is over, you can get back to playing and having fun with your new friends.

If you need to be moved from your room to another place the porters will be the people that will bring you where you need to go. Our porters in this hospital have two sets of uniforms what you can see in the pictures above.

Coming to hospital is often a new experience for children.  A psychologist’s job is to talk with you and your parents about being in hospital, your illness and your treatment. Sometimes children feel a bit scared about it all. Our job is to find out what bits you may find scary and help you come up with ways of dealing with them.

Radiographers and Radiologists
Radiographers are the people who will take your x-ray. X-rays are special pictures of inside your body. The pictures help the doctor to make you better. Radiologists are doctors who have special training to look at these pictures when they are taken. Radiologists also do some special tests like ultrasound.

We have our own primary school teacher who will help you with the school work and will ensure that you keep up to date with your school work while you are with us.

Theatre Staff
If you need an operation then you go to the theatre department for this. Here you will meet nurses, doctors and porters who wear different clothes to everyone else in the hospital. They are like Pyjamas and are called scrubs, you have probably seen people wearing them on TV. In our hospital they are green and dark blue in theatre. 

Technical Services
The hospital is a very big building and needs a lot of looking after to keep it in good condition. Staff from technical services ensure that everything works as it should. You will see them come and go on the ward as they fix things for the nurses.


Our security staff are on duty 24 hours a day to keep patients, staff and people who visit safe. They are always walking around so you will see them during your visit to us.

Social Workers
Social workers talk and listen to our patients and their families. They help people who have something on their minds, to find answers. 

Speech and Language Therapists
You will see the Speech and Language therapist if you have any problems with talking, or if your chewing and swallowing are causing trouble.  The Speech and Language therapist will talk to you and do some fun activities with you to help with your words.  She will help your mouth and face get stronger, so that eating and drinking is easier for you. 

We are a teaching hospital so sometimes student nurses and doctors, who are being taught about medicines, illnesses and caring for patients may come to see you. Meeting patients who are sick helps them become really good at their jobs and allows them to learn how to do the best job they can for patients like you in the future.


We are very lucky to have people who come into the hospital and give the Hospital their time for free. These very special people are called volunteers and they work in the Play and Art rooms. They also run the much loved Volunteer Coffee Shop at the main entrance to the hospital. Any profits from this shop are used to improve the services we offer to everyone.

What We Use

Things you will see in hospital

When you come to the hospital you see some strange things that nurses and doctors use every day at work. Here are some pictures to show you what we use.

Stethoscope to listen with
The sounds your body makes are very useful to us, but they are often too quiet to hear with just our ears. We can use the stethoscope to listen to your heart beating, your breathing or the noises that your tummy is making. It is sometimes a little cold but it doesn't hurt and it only takes a few minutes.  The doctor or nurse might ask you to breath in and out so that they can hear clearly how your body is working on the inside! 

Dinamap (Blood-pressure machine)
When we measure your blood pressure, we can tell how hard your heart has to work to pump blood around your body. To do this, a machine blows up a special strap (cuff) around your arm or leg. This can feel a bit funny but doesn't hurt. Then we let the cuff down gently, which takes about half a minute. 
Scales to measure your weight

It is helpful for us to know how much you weigh because we can find out how much you are growing and work out the right amount of medicine to give you. We sometimes use the normal scales you stand on at home or sometimes we use a special chair.


A thermometer is used to take your temperature. When you are ill, your body can become too hot or too cold and so it is vital that we know. There are lots of different kinds of thermometers. Your parents probably have one at home. We use ones that go in your ear or under your arm(like you see in the picture). It doesn't hurt and only takes a few seconds.

Oxygen is one of the gases that we breathe in everyday from the air. It helps give us energy. Sometimes to give you added energy we separate the oxygen from the other gases and give you pure oxygen to breath. This will help you breathe more easily. 
A nebuliser is a way of giving you medicines mixed with air or gas so they can get into your lungs to make you better. We give you a special see-through mask over your nose and mouth, or ask you to hold a tube in your mouth for a few minutes. You will feel like you have a gentle wind blowing into your lungs to make you better. Clink on the link to read more about Neddy the Nebuliser.
Plaster Casts 
If you have a broken bone you might need a special type of bandage called a plaster cast. This is put on to support and protect the bones until they mend.  It is soft and wet when it is put on and then it sets hard when it dries. You can your friends to sign your plaster cast.


Medicine come in lots of different forms. We might give you tablets to chew or swallow, syrups to drink, or we might put it in a bag to take though a drip, or mix it in air to take using a nebuliser.

"Magic" Cream/Magic Spray
Our "magic" cream is a white cream, which makes the skin on the back of your hand go numb. We can put it on your hand before you have a blood test or a cannula, so you don't feel it.
Name Band
A name band is a plastic strip you wear like a bracelet. It includes your name, date of birth, address and hospital number. All our patients are required to have at least one of these name bands. 
Oxygen-Saturation Probe
This is used to measure your pulse (heart beat) and how much oxygen is in your blood. It looks like a small peg with a red light on it. We put it on your finger or toe. It doesn't hurt, and usually only takes a few seconds to do (although we might leave it on for longer if we want to observe it.) Some children stay with us to have it checked continuously overnight. 

This is like a computer screen with lots of coloured wiggly lines and numbers on it. It will show us your heart beat, and how many times a minute you breathe. The monitor reads this information from the sticky plasters on your chest. It will tell us what your oxygen saturation is (how much oxygen is in your blood); the reading is taken from your finger. It can also tell us what your blood pressure is; the reading is taken from the Velcro cuff that has been put on your arm or leg. 

Intravenous Fluids/IV Fluids
V fluids are often called 'a drip'. A drip is a way of giving you medicine or water from a squashy bag. We can use this if you are not eating or drinking enough or need some medicine. The fluid runs through a machine.

These are special pictures of the inside of your body. For example, we can take x-rays of your bones or lungs. You won't feel anything while they are being taken but you have to stay still or the pictures will be blurred. In the X-Ray Department they do scans as well, have a look at the pictures and links below to see more.
X-Ray Scan


Click on the link to solve some really cool puzzles and learn about animals that use ultrasound!


A CT Scan
To learn more about the X-Ray Department click on the link below:
X-Ray (Radiology) - Children's

Where You Stay

Preparing yourself, the parent, for your child’s hospital admission.

Admission to hospital can be very confusing for you, your child and family. This section of the website we hope will assist you in preparing yourself and your child. It is a brief guide on preparation for admission and the services available once you are here. Children often sense their parent’s feelings.  By recognising your own fears, worries etc it will allow you to be in a better position to support your child during his/her admission to hospital and cope with any stresses that may arise.
Entrance to the National Children's Hospital


To prepare:

  • Read our booklets on the website on preparing you and your child for hospital admission and Charlie the Clown.
  • Being in hospital with your child can be very tiring especially if it is for a long duration. Where this is the case, organise support so that another caregiver can stay while you take a break. Older children often feel secure enough to allow you to leave the ward but ensure you tell him/her and the ward staff that you are leaving and when you plan to return.
  • Hospital wards by their very nature are very warm so bring in light clothing for you to wear.

For more information on each ward click on the links below:
Maple Ward-Children's
High Dependency Unit-Childrens
Oak Ward 
Beech Ward

  • Take short breaks from the ward or room. Where possible the nursing staff will organise someone to stay with your child (if required) while you take a tea/coffee break. No Hot Drinks are allowed at the bedside for your child's safety.
  • Ask staff about the parents coffee room which is available for use by the parents. This room is a sanctuary for parents and so no children are allowed in here. However children are allowed in "The Volunteer Coffee Shop", which is staffed by volunteers and is located on the ground floor at the main hospital entrance. You may also bring your child to the hospital canteen. Children must be supervised at all times in these areas.
  • Bring in something for yourself to pass the time. Time can pass very slowly while you wait for test results.
  • Bring in your mobile phone and charger so you can keep in contact with family and friends. Mobile phones however are not allowed in the High Dependency Unit (HDU). Some single rooms have a telephone which will allow incoming calls; the phone number is obtained by prefixing 414 to the phone extension number.
  • We pride ourselves on being “family centred” and so extended family are welcome to visit. However as there are sick children in the hospital we ask you to be respectful of their needs by not allowing too many visitors at any one time. Parents and guardians have unrestricted visiting at all times. The Day Ward restricts visitors to parents/guardians and no siblings are allowed (this is due to limited space). Overnight admissions need to ring their relevant ward on the morning of admission to confirm bed is available.
  • You can visit the Play Room with your child (where appropriate) and encourage him/her to make friends with other children. Click on this link for more information: Play Department


  • If you have other children at home an extended hospital admission can affect them too. They may feel jealous or worry for their brother or sister in hospital. It is important where possible to arrange for them to visit you and their brother/sister. If possible it is a good idea to go home to spend some time with them as well.
  •  If you and your child’s other parent do not live together then plan in advance who will stay with the child. Organise a workable time table so your child knows what to expect.
  • If there are any special arrangements regarding the other parent, for example barring orders, or you have sole guardianship please inform the staff on admission. The social worker will be notified and will visit you to offer support and advice if required. This will all be done discreetly.
  • Depending on the reason for your child’s admission other members of the multi-disciplinary team may be involved in your child’s care, for example Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Therapist and Psychologist.
  • you have any worries or concerns during your visit please speak to a member of the nursing or medical team.

Advice before coming into hospital can also be sought from:

  • Children in Hospital- Ireland have an advice pack for parents (Tel: 01-8780448 or click on this link: www.childreninhospital.ie.
  • Check our Hospital Information Centre in Outpatients for additional specific information leaflets, for example “Going to Theatre”, “Blood Tests” “Charlie the Clown”, “Preparing you and your child for hospital admission” etc
  • Speak to our hospital staff between the hours of 14.00-16.00: Day Ward (01) 414 2295; Beech Ward (01) 414 2160; Oak Ward (01) 414 2152; Maple Ward (01) 414 2162; Outpatients Dept. (01) 414 2663 and Play room (01) 414 3836.

It can be dangerous for some of our children to come in contact with people who have certain infectious diseases. If you, your child or visitor is or has had (or been in contact with) measles, mumps, chicken pox, within the last three weeks, then they should contact the hospital for advice. If you or your child experience symptoms of diarrhoea and or vomiting Please Do Not Attend the hospital until 48 hours after your last symptom. If you have an appointment or are due for admission please contact the department you are due to attend for further advice, please do not attend the hospital until you have spoken to a member of hospital staff.


Over night accommodation is available for one parent/guardian at the bedside. A small number of rooms are available in parent accommodation, which is located close to the wards. These rooms are not accessible during the day. No children are allowed in parent accommodation at any time.

We encourage parents or guardians to stay with their child during their admission however we are aware that this may not always be possible. It is important that your child is aware when you are leaving and when you plan to return. Your child will feel happier and safer when they are kept informed and know what is happening. For longer admissions you should organise support for yourself. Your spouse, partner or a close family member may be able to relieve you so that you can go home for a few hours or indeed overnight.

Always inform the nursing staff when you are leaving the ward.

More information is available on the links

Coming into Hospital
Morning Surgery
Afternoon Surgery
Charlie the Clown goes to Theatre
Chloe falls and breaks a bone
Ben's Grommets
Goodbye Tonsils