Supporting children visiting the ICU – Module Introduction

Module introduction

“ Being included and be able to witness and understand what is happening is important for children’s ability to cope going forward. They can do that if they've been prepared for what they’ll see and what's going to happen”. – Child life specialist

This module addresses the complexities of bringing children, age four through adolescence, to the ICU.  It also provides guidance to make the experience as constructive as possible. The strategies can be used in family meetings as well as less formal interactions.

Always try to secure parental agreement for carrying out any of these suggested intervention/strategies. 

All children are unique. This information is meant to serve as a guide and is not meant to replace professional support. 

Preparing a child to the ICU

By completing this module, you will:

  • Understand why families may or may not wish for children to visit a patient in the ICU.
  • Learn common concerns and questions children often have and how to address these.
  • Explore ways to facilitate and ease a child’s visit and prevent trauma and future difficulties with grief.
  • Learn ways to support a child when death occurs.


For additional information on supporting children in grief, please see

Notes about language:

"Parent" is used to refer to anyone who has direct legal responsibility for the daily wellbeing of a child. This could include other family members, guardians, foster parents and others.  References to "primary caregiver" in videos refer to all of these individuals.

"Children" is used to refer to all children up to the age of minority.