Emotional Safety

Every child deserves emotionally safe care.

What is Emotional Safety?

Emotional Safety is an intentional practice to promote resiliency, healing, and trust for pediatric patients and their families during all medial experiences.

For Patients

Here at Lurie Children’s we want to take care of your feelings in the same way we take care of your body.  We want you to know what’s happening and why, make space for you to share and process your feelings, and encourage you to speak up and understand how you can make choices to be a part of your own care.

For Caregivers

Emotional Safety is defined by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) as: "An intentional, interdisciplinary practice to promote resiliency, healing, and trust for pediatric patients and their families during medical experiences.” 

Here at Lurie Children’s, we honor the difference between “being safe” and “feeling safe.” Your child’s emotional safety is just as important as their physical safety.  

We respect and honor that you know your child better than anyone. We also want to acknowledge that one child’s illness, injury or medical journey impacts all the loved ones in your family. Emotional safety at Lurie Children’s builds and sustains trust through collaboration with you, your child and your medical team to provide the best possible care for your entire family.

How do Child Life Specialists Provide Emotional Safety?

They integrate Emotional Safety through screening and assessment, interventions, environmental changes, advocacy, and staff communication/education/training. Child Life Specialists utilize their specialized clinical tools and knowledge to assess and support how a patient’s emotional experience can impact their healthcare experience. 

Child Life Specialists have the ultimate goal of minimizing traumatic medical encounters, and helping patients and families navigate healthcare experiences, both planned and unplanned, and both present and future.

How Can I Advocate for Emotionally Safe Care For My Child?

  • Feel empowered to advocate for a Child Life Specialist’s involvement.
  • We encourage being open and honest with your child and encouraging them to be involved in their own care when appropriate.
  • All questions are important! Please ask no matter how small they may feel and empower your child to ask their questions as well.
  • Validate emotions. We like to say feelings are for feeling…not for fixing!
  • Take care of yourself and your emotions as well. Seek support from both outside (Community, Family, Friends) and inside (Chaplains, Social Work) the hospital, remembering we are here for you too.
  • Download the Patient and Family Coping Questionnaire (DOC). If filled out, please bring with you to your appointment or visit.

Where Can I Find More Resources?

Play video


Play video


Play video


Play video