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10 Items to Make the Hospital More Comfortable for Your Child

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Being in the hospital with a chronically ill child is hard. I’ve done it more times than I can count. In fact, I’m typing this from a hospital recliner next to my daughter’s hospital bed. This was a planned admission, one we’ve been anticipating for months, so I spent a lot of time creating and curating my packing list. Here are the 10 items that are keeping us calmer and more comfortable this time around. Order them now to pack for your next “visit” or create a registry to share with family and friends who want to help.

1. Essential Oil Diffuser

Like many chronically ill children, my daughter hates the smell of hospitals. A diffuser masks that hospital smell and makes her happier. Each day, she chooses which essential oil we use. Bonus: The nurses love coming into our room and look visibly more relaxed every time they do.

My Pick: Aromatherapy Diffuser

2. Slippers

Sure, the hospital provides those non-slip socks, but they often don’t have them in your child’s size and you’ve got enough to worry about without your kid shuffling around in dangerously big socks.

My Pick: Kids’ Slippers

3. Slicky Notes

We use these to track my daughter’s seizures. They’re like post-it notes except they use an electrostatic charge to cling to any hard surface, including walls, monitors, mirrors and doors. We write down each seizure on its own slickie, creating a visual bar chart on the wall of her hospital room. You can also use them to write down questions for doctors, to record motivational quotes or to track medication reminders.

My Pick: Slicky Notes Dry Erase Notepads

4. Button-Up Pajamas

Electrodes, pulse oximeters and other medical equipment make it hard to wear PJs that pull on over your head. Stock up on button-up pajama tops before your hospital stay. They’re easier for patients to get into and out of and provide doctors and nurses with easier access to whatever they need to monitor. Target usually has plenty of options for all ages.

My Pick: Target Kids’ Pajamas

5. Personal Coffee Maker

These two mini models from Nespresso and Keurig are perfect for a hospital room. Sure, hospital cafeterias sell coffee, but it can be hard to leave your child’s bedside every time you crave caffeine. Being able to enjoy your favorite cup of coffee after a rough night in the hospital really makes all the difference. And given the cost of cafeteria coffee, this machine pays for itself in a matter of days.

My Picks: Nespresso Mini Espresso Machine, Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker

6. Lap Desk

Yes, most hospitals have those rolling trays that you can use as a desk, but they’re complicated for kids with limited mobility or an IV drip to use. A simple lap desk with a bean bag-style bottom is usually much more convenient. This one has a special spot for a phone, which can make watching a show or FaceTiming a friend much easier.

My Pick: LapGear Designer Lap Desk

7. Neck and Shoulder Wrap Pad

It’s hard to get comfortable in a hospital bed. An aroma-infused neck and shoulder wrap can help. Nurses are happy to pop these in the microwave to warm them up for your child. You might want to use it at bedtime, too.

My Pick: Hot and Cold Herbal Aromatherapy Neck and Shoulder Plush Wrap Pad

8. Casper Glow Light

This innovative cordless lamp is worth every penny. You can use it to read without bothering your sleeping child or as a night light: simply twist it to adjust the brightness. And when you wake up in the middle of the night to talk to a nurse or use the bathroom, you give it a little shake to turn it on and carry it with you around the room.

My Pick: Casper Glow Light

9. Outlet Splitter

Hospital rooms never have enough outlets, so you’re going to need an outlet splitter. We love this one because it has built-in USB ports and keeps your cords off the floor.

My Pick: 9-Outlet Adapter

10. Packing Cubes

Most hospital rooms don’t have dressers, so you’ll be living out of your suitcase or duffel bag. Packing cubes — like these from Eagle Creek — make this much easier. Pack all of your tops in one cube, your bottoms in another. Smaller cubes are perfect for underwear and socks. Packing cubes also make it easier to organize everything you need for yourself and your child in one bag.

My Pick: Eagle Creek Packing Cubes

Getty photo by Monkey Business Images.

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