Coming to the hospital - whether it's for an appointment, an overnight stay, or a visit - can be scary. That's why the University of Vermont Children's Hospital was created with kids' needs in mind. Our family-centered approach and child-friendly environment makes sure our youngest patients have the best possible experience during their time with us.

Our Visitation Policy

If you're a parent, you're not just a visitor - you're the primary caregiver, and we're part of your team. That's why we've created caregiver-friendly visitation policies to allow you to spend as much time with your child as possible. We even have sleeping recliners for you to spend the night!

Please click here to view our latest visitation policy, based on current COVID-19 precautions and guidance. 

The Patient Experience

What to Bring

In an unfamiliar environment, it can be comforting for children to have familiar items from home around them. We recommend that you bring a backpack from home with stuffed animals, a blanket, toys, a pacifier, photos of family or pets, and other little pieces of home to help your child settle in and pass the time.

We also recommend that families fill out the "All About Me" form before their visit to help us make your child as comfortable as possible. 

If your child is only coming in for a doctor’s appointment or a diagnostic test, there’s no need to pack too much. Small electronics (iPads, iPods, DSi’s, laptops) are welcome, but we request that you clearly mark and keep track of them.

Complete the “What To Bring” checklist so you can remember what you brought with you once it’s time to go home.


If your child is coming in for a procedure, there may be limitations to what they can eat or drink prior to the test or surgery, which your doctor or nurse will share with you. Be sure to follow those instructions.

The Comfort Zone

We know that children can be nervous when facing an outpatient procedure. That’s why we developed the Comfort Zone, to help put your child at ease when sedation will be part of the experience. The space features bright decorations, toys, games and a comfortable waiting area. This approach involves helping your child understand what will be happening by:

  • Talking through the steps and answering their questions
  • Letting your child handle masks and other equipment
  • Using dolls to act out the procedure

Learn more about our Comfort Zone.

Child Life Specialists

Our certified Child Life specialists are here to help you and your child during your visit, whether it's a simple diagnostic procedure or a longer stay. They can answer questions, provide education about procedures and even do medical play to help children be prepared for things like an IV or a CT scan, with the goal of reducing your child’s fears by explaining medical procedures and treatments. These compassionate professionals also provide key support to siblings and can serve as a resource on child development, grief and issues related to hospitalization.

Learn more about our Child Life specialists.

Support for Families

Below are just a few of the programs and services we provide to support parents, caregivers and siblings.

  • Ronald McDonald Family Room: A home-like setting where you can fix a meal, take a shower, and do laundry,
  • Very Important Brothers and Sisters: A monthly support group for school-age children who have lost a sibling.
  • Vermont Family Network: A reference room with helpful books, journals and internet access where you can learn more about your child’s illness.

Become a Patient and Family Advisor

The UVM Medical Center values the perspectives of our patients and their families. Our Patient and Family Advisors are volunteers who partner with us to improve how we deliver care.

Learn more