It is natural for you and your child to feel nervous — especially if this is their first time away from home. But you can also take comfort knowing we have cared for countless children like yours.

Here, our doctors, nurses, Child Life specialists, and other professionals go out of their way to make every child feel safe and special.

It is easier to plan for your child’s hospital stay when you know what to expect. Find tips to help you prepare for their visit.

Where to Sleep

We invite parents to stay with their children 24 hours a day. Our patient rooms include a sleeper chair or cot for parents who prefer to sleep at their child’s bedside.

Even though siblings and other guests cannot stay overnight, they may spend time with your child during visiting hours.

If you need to sleep elsewhere because of other family obligations, there are many hotels and motels nearby.

Stay at the on-site Ronald McDonald House

If you live more than 25 miles away, your family may be able to stay at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. Located in front of the hospital at N Front Street and Erie Avenue, it gives families a comfortable place to stay while their children receive medical care. To check on availability, call 215-291-0907.

What to Pack for an Overnight Hospital Stay

Many of your child’s needs will be taken care of during their stay. We provide hospital gowns, food, basic toiletries, and some age-appropriate toys and games.

You will need to bring certain personal or essential items. These include:

  • Your driver’s license or another form of photo ID.
  • Your health insurance card (if you have insurance).
  • A list of your child’s current prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any lab or imaging tests results requested by your child’s doctor.
  • Cases for eyeglasses, contact lenses, or dental retainers.
  • Charging cables for electronic items.

To make your child’s stay more comfortable, you may also pack:

  • Pajamas
  • Slippers
  • Favorite books, stuffed animals, blankets, toys, or handheld games. Make sure these items are labeled with your child’s name.

Please leave jewelry, cash, and other valuable items at home.

In-Room Amenities

Our patient rooms offer amenities to help make your child’s stay more pleasant. These include:

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Televisions
  • Bedside telephones (local calls are free)
  • In-room dining
  • Private showers

Our volunteers will happily deliver mail to your child. Letters, cards, and packages should be addressed to:

Your child’s full name and room number
St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
160 East Erie Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19134

Dining Options

Our patients receive three hot meals daily during their hospital stay. Every morning, your child will receive a menu with plenty of options for picky eaters. You or a member of our food and nutrition team can help your child choose their meals for the next day.

If your child has any food allergies or other dietary restrictions, please let your nurse know during the admission process.

You and your spouse or partner may dine with your child in their room. You will need to buy a meal voucher in the hospital cafeteria, then place your order by calling extension 5123. Your and your child's meal trays will be delivered at the same time.

We also offer food and beverage options for hospital visitors:

  • Our cafeteria, located on the ground floor, serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
  • A coffee shop is in the hospital lobby. Open seven days a week, it serves coffee, pastries, yogurt, and other grab-and-go items.
  • Several snack and beverage vending machines are located on the hospital’s ground floor.

If you prefer to dine off-site, you will find plenty of restaurants nearby.

Other On-Site Services and Amenities

You don’t need to leave the hospital to find a hot cup of coffee or a quiet place to pray.

We provide many on-site comforts and conveniences. These include a gift shop, vending machines, and a retail pharmacy.

We also offer a variety of support services, including a medical library and nondenominational chapel.

Getting Ready to Go Home

Before your child leaves the hospital for home, you will meet with a social worker or other team members. Together, we will create a plan for your child’s ongoing medical care or recovery.

Some things we may discuss or help you coordinate include:

  • Any home health care services or medical equipment your child may need.
  • Your child’s medicine schedule and doses.
  • Acceptable activity levels.
  • How to help your child return to school or make up missed assignments.
  • Behavior or mood changes your child may experience.
  • Follow-up appointments with your child’s doctor.

Your child will not be discharged from the hospital until you feel confident that we have answered your questions and addressed your concerns.