Certified Child Life Specialists® provide therapeutic play, preparation for procedure, and education that support and reduce fear, anxiety, pain, and suffering for both patients and their families.

Studies show these child life services result in cost savings including reduced length of stay, decreased sedation needs and improved family satisfaction and ratings of overall experience. The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed the important role of the Certified Child Life Specialist and U.S. News & World Report has recognized that expertise in child life is a vital variable in the success of pediatric care and is counted as a key quality indicator in hospital rankings.

“I hope you know that even though William was too sick for the doctors to save, you saved my family.”—Elizabeth, mother to William.

Parents talk about Child Life Programs...

The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed the role of the Certified Child LifeSpecialist and US New & World Report has recognized that expertise in child life:

  • Is a vital variable in the success of pediatric care, and
  • Counts it as a key quality indicator in hospital rankings.

Child life services can decrease the need for full sedation with general anesthesia for MRIs (Durand et al, 2015).

  • 23.18% of patients required general anesthesia to complete MRIs in baseline period versus 19.16% when child life services were available (4.02% decline).
  • When child life services were available, 98.4% of patients have MRIs without full sedation completed the procedure successfully.
  • Of the patients with successful MRIs, 73% had no sedation at all and 27% required diazepam, an anti-anxiety medication.

Child life intervention had enormous cost savings for pediatric oncology patients undergoing radiation therapy (Grissom et al, 2015).

  • Every minute of child life intervention was associated with a 0.4% increase in the odds of the patient receiving radiation with partial sedation rather than full sedation.
  • There was an average cost savings of $77,814 per patient over the duration of the irradiation protocol when child life intervention reduced the need from full sedation to partial sedation.

Child life services make a difference in pediatric care. Research and practice have demonstrated that child life services, such as play and preparation, help to decrease costs (i.e., reducing the length of stay and decreasing the need for analgesics).

Wolfer J, Gaynard L, Goldberger J, Laidley LN, Thompson R. An experimental evaluation of a model child life program. Child Health Care. 1988;16:244–254



Research suggests child life specialists have a quantifiably positive impact on the care of children in imaging departments. Measures of parent satisfaction, staff satisfaction, child satisfaction, child pain, and child distress are shown to be positively impacted.

Tyson ME, Bohl DD, Blickman JG. (2014) A randomized controlled trial: child life services in pediatric imaging. Pediatri Radiol. Vol 44 (11):1426-32.
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Child Life in the News

  • Certified child life specialists: Adding major value to the healthcare delivery team

    Apr 28, 2017
  • 'MR-I Am Ready!' making MRI's easier for kids and parents

    Apr 17, 2017
  • 'Nobody likes to see a child suffer': Child life specialists try to ease pain

    Apr 17, 2017