Children's Hospital Patient Safety

Help Keep Your Child Safe in the Hospital

Our goal at Children’s is to provide the safest possible care for all of our patients. Your child’s doctor or a member of your child’s health care team will talk with you about specific care for your child.

We invite you to partner with us and be involved in your child’s care. You can help to keep your child safe by being an active member of your child’s healthcare team.

To help us keep your child safe, please do these things on an ongoing basis:

  • Please speak up. Ask a staff member when you have questions or concerns. Use a notepad to write down facts and questions you would like to talk with us about.
  • Be involved in making decisions about your child’s care. If you want to know something, please ask us.
  • Know the results of your child's tests. If you have any questions about your child's test results, ask your doctor. Ask for them to be explained to you in a way you can understand.
  • Learn more ways to help keep patients safe (en Español).

Preventing Infections

The best way to prevent infections is to clean your hands often and well. All of us carry germs on us. To prevent these germs from harming your child, clean your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Make sure to clean your child’s hands too. Our hand hygiene teaching sheet (en Español) provides more details about good hand hygiene. To prevent the spread of infection, including the flu, remember the following guidelines:

  • Wash your hands for at least 15 seconds using soap and water, or
  • Use the alcohol-based hand sanitizer found in the dispensers inside and outside each patient room.

Always wash your hands: 

  • When you enter and before you leave your child’s room or exam room.
  • Before and after eating, touching food or feeding your child.
  • After using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
  • After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose and after wiping your child’s nose.

Help keep our patients safe by learning more about proper hand hygiene.

Medication Safety

When your child is ill, medicines can help him get better. But they can also hurt him if you don't use them correctly. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you give your child medicines safely. Before using any medicine, be sure to follow these safety tips (en Español).

Learn more about safety with medicines.

Common Safety Questions

  • What should I do if I have a question about my child’s care and to whom should I speak?

      If you have a concern or question about something, please ask our staff. You have a right to have things explained to you in a way that you understand. If you do not understand, please speak up and ask questions. Ask for a second opinion if you would like one. Your nurse can help you with this.

      If you have any concerns about the quality or safety of your child’s care, please speak with your child’s nurse or doctor. If needed, you may also speak with the manager for that area, the nursing supervisor or the patient representative.

      You may contact Joint Commission at complaint@jcaho.org or by phone Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., CST at 800-994-6610. You may also contact the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Office of Regualtory Services at 404-657-5700. 

  • What about taking medicines safely?

      You can help your child be safe with medicines by making sure the doctor and nurses know about any allergies or drug reactions your child has had in the past. Keep a complete and current list of the medicines your child is taking. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, herbs and supplements. Share this list with each of your child’s doctors at every visit.

      Learn more about medication safety.

  • Can I give my child medicines from home?

      Do not give your child any medicines from home. This includes vitamins, herbs, supplements or over-the-counter medicines. The hospital will provide all of your child’s medicines.

      Take all of your child’s medicines back home with you. Do not keep any medicines in your child’s room or at your child’s bedside.

  • Why does my child need an ID band?

      All patients in the hospital must wear an ID band. This helps keep your child safe by letting our staff know that they are giving a medicine or treatment to the right child. Even if the staff knows your child, they should read the ID band.

      Our staff will actively involve you when we ID your child. We will ask you to verify your child’s name and we will check your child’s ID band before: giving medicines, breast milk for babies, blood products, collecting specimens and labs or doing treatments or procedures. At night when you and your child are sleeping, we will check the ID band ourselves.

      - Keep your child’s ID band on. Let the staff know right away if it comes off.
      - If someone does not check the ID band first, please speak up and ask them to do so.
      - If your child has allergies, make sure that a separate red band is used.
      - If your child is allergic to latex, make sure that a separate green band is used.
      - If the location does not use an ID band, staff should check your child’s name and date of birth before care is given.
  • Are certain items prohibited in the hospital?

      Yes, the following items are prohibited:

      - Illegal drugs
      - Alcoholic drinks
      - Weapons
      - Shooting toys
      - Open flames
      - Food-heating appliances (e.g., toasters, hot plates)
      - Latex balloons (some children are allergic to latex; mylar balloons are okay

      Please check with the nurse before using cell phones and other radio frequency devices in the Intensive Care Units (ICU), because they disturb medical equipment.

  • My child has an isolation sign up on the door. What does this mean?

      Your child may have an illness that could easily spread and make you and others sick. Sometimes, extra care is needed to help prevent the spread of the illness. Each type of illness and isolation has special guidelines to follow.

      Please speak up and ask your child’s nurse what you need to do if your child has one of these signs or if you do not know what to do.

  • How can I help prevent falls?

      When a child is sick, taking certain medicines or undergoing certain procedures, his chance of falling is increased. If a child falls and gets hurt, the hospital stay can be longer than it should be. This may add to the stress of being sick.

      To help prevent falls:

      Review a print-friendly guide to fall prevention (en Español)

      - Watch your child at all times. Always let your child’s nurse or one of our staff know if you are leaving the room.

      - Never leave your child alone on an exam table or stretcher.

      - Keep the side rails up and make sure they are locked. Also keep the bed at its lowest position to the ground.

      - If you don’t know how the bed controls on the side rails work, ask our staff to show you.

      - Make sure your child always sleeps in the bed. Do not allow your child to sleep on the couch or in the chair.

      - Have your child wear shoes or non-skid socks each time he gets out of bed. If you don’t have any ask our staff for a pair.

      Please do not allow your child to:

      - Play with or on medical equipment such as monitors or I.V. poles.
      - Run in the hallway.
      - Climb on furniture.

      Tell your child’s caregiver right away if your child falls.

  • If one of my child’s monitors is beeping, what should I do?

      Most medical equipment has an alarm to help keep your child safe. Please do not turn off the alarms.

      When the alarm sounds, use the nurse call button to let the nurse know something needs to be checked. If someone does not come right away, please leave the alarm on. Then push the nurse call button again. If needed, go out into the hallway and get a nurse.

  • Can I sleep in the same bed as my child?

      Sleeping in the same bed with your child can cause him harm. This is especially true if your child is:

      - Less than 2 years old.
      - Has an artificial airway (tracheostomy) or other medical problem that can cause harm when sleeping right next to someone.
      - Small enough that part of his body could become trapped between your body and the bedrails.

      Instead, move your child’s crib or bed closer to your bed if his equipment allows. This will make it easier for you to care for and feed your child. Other children and adults are also not allowed to share a bed with your child.

      Ask your child’s nurse for other safe sleeping ideas. Also ask for ideas about how to be closer to your child without getting into the same bed with him.

      For more information, download our safe sleeping teaching sheet (en Español).

  • Does Children's have other safety guidelines I should follow?

      To make sure our hospital or neighborhood facility is a safe place for you and your child, Children’s has the following safety guidelines:

      - If your child is a surgery patient, review these surgery safety guidelines

      - For medical emergencies, there is a red emergency pull switch in the bathrooms of all patient rooms.

      - Parents and children who can walk should wear shoes or slippers to avoid injury.

      - Fire drills and other emergency-preparedness drills occur from time to time. A nurse will tell you what to do during a drill.

      - If you find a spill of any kind on the floor, tell the nearest hospital staff member. Please do not clean up spills yourself. Hospital staff members will notify the appropriate personnel.

      - To protect your child and prevent the spread of infection, our staff follows special precautions while caring for your child, including handwashing and wearing gloves, a mask, a gown or goggles when necessary.
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