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National Patient Safety Agency

Children-easing your worries

If your child has to go to hospital, it’s an anxious time for all the family. But having all the information you need about your child’s condition and being involved in the treatment he or she receives can help ease your worries.


  • If your child is taking any medicines, bring these with you (in the original packaging if possible). Tell the nurse, doctor or pharmacist if they’re taking any over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins and herbal supplements.
  • Make sure you tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child has.
  • Ask the doctor, nurse or pharmacist about any medicine your child is given. For example, ‘What will the medicine do?’ and ‘How should it be taken?’.
  • If you are worried or unclear about any of your child’s treatments, ask their doctor or nurse why they are being given and if there could be any side effects, complications or risks.
  • If your child has to have an operation, check that the right one has been recorded on the consent form which you sign – and that the details, such as which part of the body is going to be operated on, are correct.
  • When you leave the hospital, make sure you’re clear about what medicines your child should be taking, who will be following up their care and who to contact if they feel unwell again.



‘We involved ourselves in his care’

“Matthew was rushed to hospital just before Christmas. After examining him, a specialist doctor told us what treatment he was undergoing and warned us of the shocking worst-case scenario – that Matthew might not survive the night.


As Matthew, thankfully, recovered we were increasingly able to involve ourselves in his care. One day he took the feeding tube out of his nose. It wasn’t very comfortable and we thought it was Matthew’s way of saying he’d had enough. So I asked the nursing team if he could do without it. They agreed the tube could go if we took over responsibility for Matthew’s nourishment.


It was important for me to speak in Matthew's behalf. As a parent it's your responsibility to raise the issues your child can't. Just because the staff wear uniforms doesn't mean you can't ask them questions.”


It's OK ask if they've cleaned their hands

Germs can cause infections and hospital staff take hand hygiene seriously. Using a disinfectant handrub kills almost all bacteria in just 30 seconds, so your child's doctor or nurse won’t mind you asking if they’ve remembered to use it.


Please Ask about sick children