How Comfort Kits Bring Smiles to Kids' Faces

These boxes are designed to bring hope, inspiration—and a sticker or two—to hospitalized children.

Posted in , Apr 18, 2019

A Comfort Kit from Guideposts

Taking your kid to the hospital can be traumatic. I should know. I’m not only a certified child life specialist but a mom of three.

Imagine your 10-year-old breaks his arm. You rush to the hospital, and your two younger ones come along—you can’t leave them at home alone. There you are in the ER, and you want to calm everybody down (including yourself). But you have nothing. No toys, no books, nothing. You whisper a prayer for help.

Just then a nurse brings you a couple of Comfort Kits from Guideposts. Inside are crayons, stickers, a ball, a coloring book, a fuzzy stuffed star to hug. Not only is your injured son comforted—and distracted—but so are his siblings. They have something to do.

I’ve worked in hospitals for 20 years, and one of the things child life specialists do is give children a sense of what’s going to happen to them. If they’re going to get surgery, I show them what it’s like to have your arm hugged by a blood pressure cuff or how it feels to have sensors on your chest, monitoring your heart. Nothing should come as a surprise. The unknown is what’s scary.

Thanks to Comfort Kits, I never come to a family empty-handed. Children are empowered when they have choices. Which sticker will I put where? What colors will I use? And for caregivers, those choices give an insight into how a kid is feeling. It opens them up to talk.

I remember being hospitalized when I was 13. My parents weren’t allowed to stay with me overnight. Nothing could have been scarier or lonelier than lying in the dark, clutching my pillow, hearing my roommate cry. There weren’t any Comfort Kits then. How grateful I am that we have them now.

Over the years, I’ve helped distribute hundreds of Comfort Kits and recommended them to countless health professionals. Thank you, Guideposts, for making them and donating them to hospitals, doctors, nurses, caregivers and, most of all, children. You know how to make a kid smile.

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