Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hospital Packing Advice

If any of my readers have small children who are hospitalized frequently (and sometimes without much notice), this may be helpful to you.

Have a bag packed with hospital things, and have it prepared just in case you have to go to the hospital suddenly—that way if someone else needs to pick up things for you, they can just grab the bag. Use a large rolling bag if you can, even if you don’t fill it—it makes leaving the hospital much easier because you always accumulate things while you are staying if you are there longer than a day or two. This is what we usually have with us. Your list may vary according to your child’s needs and your hospital’s accommodations.

1 change of clothing for parents

Socks and possibly sweats for the patient—we usually keep our boy in hospital gowns because sometimes clothing gets messy, or sometimes he gets sick or get something on the clothing…it’s just easier not to have to worry too much about the children’s laundry. Do bring an outfit for going home if your child will be in gowns (or just have him wear the same thing home that he wore to the hospital)

Sippy cups and kid silverware if your child uses them (have a few so that you can cycle through washing them and cut down on germs from cups sitting around).

Dish soap (in a plastic bag)

Hand wipes (you should use these a lot especially if your child cannot easily wash his hands yet).

Disinfectant wipes (Lysol/Clorox wipes) for cleaning toys, floors, surfaces

Hand lotion (it gets very dry in there!)

Diapers and wipes. Pretty much all hospitals stock disposables and provide for the patients. Not all hospitals provide wipes—ours does not. If you prefer to use your own type of diapers (we do—sensitivity issues), make sure they are in the bag. If you use cloth and must use them in the hospital, it shouldn’t be an issue—just try to have several of the same type. They weigh diapers to check urine output, and it will be easier if you have only one or two kinds with you so that you know the dry weights and they can calculate based on that. Also, with cloth, pack wet bags and maybe baking soda or tea trea oil.

Toys and Entertainment—if you are a hospital regular, you know what their TV setup is. Ours has VCR’s, no DVD players, but they do have TV’s with RCA inputs, so we connect a video iPod. We put The Boy’s favorite shows and movies on it, so that we don’t have to bring a bunch of DVD’s or tapes with us. Be sure to have the right cords to connect your player to the TV. The 5th generation video iPod uses a standard camcorder cable with a stereo jack on one end and three RCA plugs on the other. If you don’t have a video MP3 player but you do have a laptop that comes with you, try making files of several video favorites. As for toys, crayons and coloring books and stickers are favorites with us. Beyond that, try to bring toys that are easy to clean with wipes. If your child spends any time playing on the floor, you'll want a playmat, especially if he is not walking yet or is new to walking. We have this one but shop around because you can probably find similar ones for a better price. We also have one that is just four pieces. It is easier to deal with, but it doesn't fit in the bag.

There is a companion post coming up about procedures and how to handle the hospital, and what to ask for, and what to do yourself.

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