Child Life Specialists

Help your child feel relaxed and comfortable during medical situations with the support of the knowledgeable, compassionate child life specialists at Essentia Health. You can count on our child life specialists to provide guidance and help your family build coping skills during doctor visits, treatments, and procedures. This service is only available in Duluth, Minnesota.

What is a Child Life Specialist?

Child life specialists have training in child development and psychology, as well as certification from the Child Life Council. They help ease stress and anxiety for young patients and their families by:

  • Offering emotional support before or during a procedure
  • Staying by your child’s side at the hospital or during a traumatic event
  • Visiting with young siblings or children of patients
  • Providing structured play activities, toys, art supplies, and other fun items
  • Conducting tours of the health care facility
  • Calming children so they don’t need medicine to help them relax

Comfort Positions

Ask a child life specialist to teach you comfort positions—specific ways to hold your child so they feel secure while they receive medical care, such as a shot, lab draw, or stitches. Comfort positions:

  • Allow you to take an active role in your child’s health care
  • Help your child feel empowered to make choices in a situation they may find stressful
  • Can prevent the need for your child to be restrained

Donate Toys to the St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital

Help provide fun and stress relief to children staying at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. Your donations of new toys, books, stuffed animals, art supplies, and more bring joy to our youngest patients. See our wish list [PDF] for suggested items.

Ask for a Child Life Specialist

Child life specialists are available at: