For Parents

Dad with child

Approximately one percent of all infants born in the United States have some form of congenital heart disease. Half of these children require critical medical attention within their first year of life. A significant factor contributing to their maximum recovery is strong family support.

We understand that parents are important members of their child's health care team. Parents are encouraged to stay with their children whenever possible during procedures and throughout hospitalization. Reassurance and nurturing from the adults who know them best is an integral part of healing and recovery in children.

The Children's Heart Center provides individualized care for each family. Clinical nurse specialists and social workers are available from the initial consultation to provide education, counseling and support for patients, parents and siblings. A flexible visiting policy allows nearly unlimited visiting hours for parents.

If you would like information about making an appointment, please click here.

The information below may help alleviate some of your questions or concerns. Of course, you are welcome to contact us with questions at any time.

Preparing Your Child for Hospitalization

Doctor with child.

Effective preparation for hospitalization can reduce the anxiety children experience prior to surgery. Professionals at The Children's Heart Center recommend that parents begin preparing their children for surgery one day per every year of the child's life before hospitalization. For example, if the child is 5 years old, parents can begin explanation 5 days in advance of the scheduled surgery. Simple, yet honest and accurate answers to your child's questions will help him/her adopt a positive attitude about the upcoming surgery. Preoperative videos and coloring books are helpful tools for introducing hospitalization to young children and are available upon request.

Child life specialists are important members of the health care team at Children's Hospital of New Jersey. An extensive Child Life Program offers youngsters developmentally appropriate play therapy, as well as variety of stimulating games and activities that promote their continued development during hospitalization.

Flexible Visiting Hours

Our flexible visiting policy allows virtually unlimited visitation for parents. Immediately following surgery, visiting in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit is restricted to two people at a time at the bedside and may include parents and grandparents. Siblings over 3 years old may be allowed to visit depending upon the patient's condition and the visitor's level of wellness and immunization status. Parents should consult the nurse regarding sibling visitation.

For Nursing Mothers

Nursing MotherAn electric breast pump is available for use by mothers who cannot nurse their infants during hospitalization. Breast milk is stored in the freezer within the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Mothers should speak to their child's nurse regarding the use of the pump and storage of breast milk.

After Surgery

Immediately following surgery children are brought directly to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit where they are under constant supervision by a team of cardiac intensivists and highly skilled nurses experienced in the care of children recovering from heart surgery. Because each child recovers at his/her own pace, the length of stay in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit varies.

Parents and significant others may visit approximately one hour after surgery. In certain situations, it may be necessary to delay the visit temporarily in order to perform a procedure that may be required for your child or another child in the unit. The staff will notify you as soon as it is possible to see your child.

Patient Stories

  • According to her mother, Lauren also is interested in becoming a pediatric cardiologist when she grows up.

    Read More
  • "They were able to repair it. They did a fantastic job."

    Read More
  • “It was the working together of many different teams, all working in synchrony, that saved the life and saved the leg of this 12-year-old girl."

    Read More

Patient Stories

  • Watch Testimonial
  • Watch Testimonial
  • Watch Testimonial