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Visiting Hours and Guidelines
Infectious disease screening
- Visitors to inpatient units are screened at the Welcome Desk for signs and symptoms suggesting an infectious disease, regardless of their age.
- If a parent or visitor has been sick with a fever, along with a cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose or muscle aches in the last 5 days, they cannot enter an inpatient area.
- If a parent is sick but must accompany a child, the parent is required to wear a mask at all times.
Parents, guardians and family friends are encouraged to visit children who are staying in the hospital. Our guidelines for visitors help us maintain a safe and calm environment for high-quality care.
Parents and Legal Guardians
Parents and legal guardians can visit patients 24 hours a day.
We encourage parents and guardians to stay overnight with children who are inpatients (patients who require overnight stays).
Parents and guardians can stay in the child’s room or in a sleeping area close by. Most inpatient rooms include two sleep surfaces (a bed and a reclining chair).
Due to safety concerns and limited space, we ask that only two parents or guardians spend the night in a child’s room.
Visiting hours are from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., seven days a week.
All visitors under the age of 18 must have adult supervision at all times, and may not stay overnight.
All visitors must check in with the nurses or social workers on the child’s unit to be sure patients and their families have agreed that the patient can have visitors.
Please ask about the visiting hours and rules on the unit.
Visitor Identification Badges
Children’s National requires photo identification when visitors sign in, and requires that all visitors display the hospital-provided identification badge while visiting anywhere within the hospital.
Visitors get a badge when signing in at one of the two Welcome Desks on the 1st floor.
Parents or guardians with a child staying more than 24 hours receive a Family Badge. Please ask the admissions office about how to get a Family Badge.
Using the Elevators at Children's National
Children’s National uses an Elevator Destination system. This system enables visitors to enter the floor they are traveling to, and the elevator system will alert them to which elevator cab will be traveling to their destination. This system enhances our visitor’s experience by enabling patients, families and visitors traveling to destinations in our main building to reach their floor in a more efficient and timely manner.
This dispatching system directs passengers to the elevator that will get them to their destination with the shortest travel time. By grouping people together based on the floor they are traveling to, the number of stops are reduced, thereby improving the efficiency of the building's elevators. There are two touch screens located at the Costco Wholesale Atrium elevator bank, and touch screens are located at every floor in the main building. If you have questions about using the elevator system, please see the Welcome Desk.
Please Help Us Keep a Safe and Healthy Environment
- If you are sick, please do not visit, unless you are the parent or guardian and must come to the hospital to get care for your child. This helps us prevent the spread of illness to other patients, families and our employees. If you are sick and must be here to get care for your child, please let the Welcome Desk or a nurse on your child’s unit know.
- Children’s National is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is not permitted inside the hospital and is not permitted anywhere on the hospital campus. Additionally, smoking is not permitted in any of Children’s outpatient centers or in any of Children’s clinics.
- Alcohol and drugs are not permitted in the hospital.
- Please leave electrical equipment, such as hair dryers and radios, at home.
- You may use cell phones and wireless devices throughout the hospital. Please keep conversations quiet to respect other patients and families.
- You may not use camera phones or other cameras to take pictures within the hospital; this is to protect the privacy of others.
- If friends or family wish to have gifts, cards, balloons, plants or flowers delivered to an inpatient, please send them to Volunteer Services. For balloons, please send mylar balloons only. Friends and family can also call the Gift Shop to have these items delivered to a patient. Please call 202-476-4012.
- Please keep valuables at home. We try to maintain a secure environment, but cannot guarantee the security of valuables left in waiting areas, playrooms or patient rooms.
Please Help Us Fight Infection
It’s important to help fight the spread of infection. All visitors should:
- Clean your hands thoroughly before and after you visit a patient. Also clean your hands before touching or eating food, after you use the bathroom and after you sneeze or cough, especially if you have covered your mouth with your hands. Remember, hand washing is the single best way to prevent the spread of infection. All visitors are welcome to use any sink or waterless gel dispenser to clean hands at any time.
- If your hands are visibly dirty, it is best to use soap and hot water, and to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If hands are not visibly dirty, you can either wash with soap and water or use waterless gel. Waterless gel is available for your use throughout the hospital. You can find wall units of gel throughout the units, at the nurse stations and in patient rooms. It is best to rub your hands together with the gel for at least 20 seconds or until the gel is gone.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Use tissues, throw them away and then clean your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or elbow. If you use your hands to cover your sneeze or cough, wash them right away with soap and water or use waterless gel if soap and water are not easily available.
Hospital tours for individuals and civic organizations are available and must be arranged through Volunteer Services. Please call 202-476-2624 or 202-476-2062 to arrange a tour.
Pre-surgical tours for patients and families are offered regularly. Please contact 202-476-3812 to arrange a pre-surgical tour. We also encourage families to watch our online tour to familiarize yourself and your child with what to expect.
We know that a child’s operation can be a stressful time for families. Our Child Life Specialists are available to answer any questions you may have. Our specialists have put together resources to prepare for upcoming surgery. For more information or for specific questions, contact Child Life Services at 202-476-3070.
Children's National Hospital and its affiliates do not restrict or deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.