Child Life Services

Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) are professionals who are trained in the areas of child development, child life, counseling and psychology, and have expertise in dealing with children's concerns and reactions to the hospital and their illnesses.

In accordance with Ochsner for Children's family-centered care philosophy, Child Life Specialists recognize and support each family's individuality, strengths and mechanisms for coping. They are members of the comprehensive healthcare team, focusing on promoting normal growth and development, and use play and other forms of communication to help reduce the stress of the healthcare experience for children and their families.

A Child Life Specialist can help you and your child understand and manage your healthcare experience through education, procedural preparation, medical play and other therapeutic activities.

The Child Life department also works with siblings and families to provide support and help deal with understanding of hospitalization, illnesses or stressful hospital situations

What Services are provided by Child Life Specialists?

  • Preparation and accompaniment to tests, surgeries, heart catheterizations and other procedures
  • Pre-operative tours
  • Normalization of the hospital environment
  • Therapeutic medical play
  • Sibling support and education
  • Support for grief and bereavement issues
  • Pet therapy
  • School re-entry programs
  • Community outreach programs
  • Activities to continue normal growth and development in clinics, patient rooms and Child Life activity rooms
  • Medical, expressive and other therapeutic play
  • Coordination of special events, such as birthdays, holiday celebrations, entertainment and donations

In What Areas Do Child Life Specialists Work at Ochsner?

Child Life Specialists work in many areas of both the hospital and outpatient clinic settings. In each of these areas, Child Life Specialists plan individualized interventions for each patient and family.

Some of these departments include, but are not limited to:

  • Pediatric Inpatient Unit
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Merrill Hines Surgery Center at Ochsner Medical Center
  • Day of Surgery Center (DOSC)
  • Operating Room
  • Post Anesthesia Care Unit (Recovery)
  • Radiology
  • Cath Lab
  • EP Lab
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Outpatient Ambulatory Care Center (Clinic)

More information...

We appreciate your interest in Ochsner Medical Center for Children. Below, please find a listing of items that can be accepted as donations to our department for patients from infants to adolescents.


  • Crib mobiles (capable of being sanitized)
  • High chairs
  • Swings
  • Bouncy seats
  • Rattles/hand held toys
  • Bumbo seat and tray
  • Leapfrog toys
  • V-Tech Toys
  • Musical toys
  • Teethers
  • Crib aquariums
  • Musical/board books
  • Infant clothes
  • Infant-safe stuffed animals (musical, lights, etc.)


  • Musical toys
  • Light up toys
  • Large cars and trucks with buttons and sound
  • DVDs (Wiggles, Dora the Explorer, Elmo, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sesame Street, Doc McStuffen, Handy Manny, Curious George)
  • Leapfrog toys
  • V-tech toys
  • Baby dolls (all plastic)
  • Sippy cups
  • Foam mats

School Age

  • Paints
  • Play-dough
  • Art kits
  • Magnadoodle
  • Any board games 
  • Card games (UNO, Skip-bo, Go Fish)
  • Movies (any Disney or Nickelodeon)
  • Barbie Dolls
  • Action Figures (Spiderman, X-men, Superman, Iron Man, etc.), Cars (from the movie), Toy Story
  • Popular books 
  • Handheld games
  • Hair accessories
  • Diaries
  • Sports games, balls, etc.
  • Lego kits, such as Star Wars


  • Nintendo DS games
  • Play station 2 or 3 games
  • X-box 360 games
  • Wii games
  • DVDs (comedy movies and action rated PG or PG-13)
  • Art materials (sketch pads, colored pencils, etc.)
  • Journals/diaries
  • DVDs players
  • CDs
  • Bath soap, lotions
  • Watches
  • Jewelry
  • Magazines (teen, sports)
  • Wallets
  • Cologne
  • Blankets
  • Socks (girls)
  • Purses
  • Nail polish
  • Athletic gear (Saint's, LSU)
  • Teen board games (Apples to Apples, Taboo, Mad Gab, Catch Phrase)
  • 3-D puzzles
  • Scarves
  • Hats
  • Picture frames
  • Photo albums
  • Scrapbooks and accessories

Gift Certificates

  • Large retailers (Target, Wal-mart/Sam's)
  • Bath and Body Works
  • VISA
  • Restaurants (Fast Food Restaurants, Local Restaurants)
  • Toys R US
  • Michael's 
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Best Buy
  • iTunes
  • Academy


  • Used stuffed animals, toys, or clothing.
  • Latex balloons
  • Most food items
  • Games, toys, video games, or movies that are violent or inappropriate for children.