If your child is coming to Seattle Children’s for a surgery or hospital stay, you will have some things to take care of beforehand. If time allows, we suggest you begin checking off the following items at least a week before your child's arrival day.
10 Important Things to Do
1. Arrange for housing and food
If your child is spending the night at Children’s, one parent may sleep near your child. There is one sleeping chair in each patient room. Sleeping rooms for ICU parents are available through the ICU unit coordinator.
You can buy meals for yourself and other family members at the hospital cafeteria or at area restaurants and grocery stores.
2. Arrange child care
Child care is not available at Children’s. Siblings, including babies who are breast-feeding, may not stay overnight in the hospitalized child's room with the parent. Patient visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Siblings may visit between these hours; children under 12 must be with an adult.
3. Arrange housing and transportation
If you are coming from out of town and need overnight housing in Seattle, or if you need Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) transportation to and from the hospital, the following information will help you:
4. Take care of other special needs
Deaf and hard-of-hearing services. Request TTYs or closed-captioned televisions from your child's nurse or Central Services on the 3rd floor. Telephones in patient rooms have an amplification feature and the hospital has public telephones with TTYs.
A resource specialist for the deaf and hard-of-hearing can help families obtain services. Call the operator at 206-987-2000 (Voice) or 206-987-2280 (TTY), leave a call back number and ask the operator to page the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing resource specialist.
Disability access. Call the Entrance Coordinator Desk at 206-987-2260 if you need a wheelchair for your child at the hospital entrance or if you have other questions about access.
5. Send medical records
If requested, ask your child's doctor(s) to send medical records, x-rays or test results to the hospital.
6. Get insurance authorization
Ask your insurance company if you need a managed-care referral from your child's primary doctor and/or pre-authorization for your child's hospital stay.
If you have questions about the authorization process, call Children’s Insurance Processing Department at 206-987-5757.
7. Fax managed-care insurance referral
If you do need a managed-care referral, ask your child's doctor to fax us at 206-985-3297.
Note! It is your responsibility to make sure that Children’s receives the insurance referral at least four business days before your child's admission.
Call Children’s Insurance Processing Department at 206-987-5757 for additional information.
8. Apply for financial assistance
Learn more about financial assistance.
9. Ask family or friends for support
Ask family or friends to help care for siblings at home, or to come visit your child at the hospital. Older kids' friends might bring their school work to them. Patient visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (children under 12 must be with an adult).
People who are ill or have recently been exposed to someone with a cold, flu or other similar illness are asked not to visit. Learn more about visiting and gifts.
10. Let us know about your cultural or religious practices
If you have personal, ethical or spiritual values that are important to you or will impact how we can best care for your child, we want to know.
Let the Children’s clinic or community doctor who referred your child for admission know in advance if you require special food for your child. We will do everything we can to respect your wishes.
9 Important Things to Bring
1. Insurance cards
Bring your health insurance and prescription cards.
2. Medical coupons
Remember coupons if your child is on Medicaid, DSHS, Healthy Options or Basic Health Plus.
3. Court papers
Bring any legal papers giving custody or guardianship. If you are not a parent with legal custody, bring legal papers that allow you to admit your child to the hospital or consent to your child's surgery.
Without these legal papers, your child's surgery or hospital stay may be cancelled.
4. List of medicines
Bring a list of the prescription and non-prescription medicines and vitamin supplements your child is taking, including the name, dosage and concentration.
Note! If your child is staying overnight in the hospital, bring his medicines with you so that we can identify name, dosage and concentration. However, in most cases, you will not be able to use these prescription or non-prescription medicines, or herbal or vitamin supplements that you bring from home.
If your child needs to take scheduled doses while he is at the hospital, our pharmacy will provide the medicine. You may store medicines from home in the outpatient pharmacy during your child's stay.
5. ATM card or cash
The cafeteria takes cash, traveler's checks (up to $50 denominations) and Visa and Mastercard; no personal checks are accepted (a cash machine is located on the 5th floor near the cafeteria).
Children’s provides gowns and footwear, but your child may feel better in his own clothes, including:
- Comfortable day clothes like sweat pants, large t-shirts, socks and underwear
- Night clothes like pajamas, a robe and slippers.
The one parent staying overnight should also bring a bag, including change of clothes, personal toiletries and any necessary medicines.
Note! Showers, lockers, laundry room and computers with Internet access are available for your use at the Family Resource Center.
7. Play and comfort items
A favorite blanket, toy, book, video or music (with headphones) will help soothe your child. Consider bringing pictures of family, friends and pets.
8. Baby needs
We provide diapers, bottles and formula. Bring a pacifier if your baby uses one or any special type of bottle, nipple or sippy cup.
9. Car seat, booster seat or seat belt
Please remember to use a car seat, booster seat or seat belt (depending on your child's age and weight) when transporting your child. Read more on car and booster seats (PDF).