Keeping kids safe in hospital

Keeping patients safe and healthy during their stay is our number one priority, but safety is everyone’s responsibility and we need your help, too. Here are some simple rules to keep your child safe in hospital and help us keep everyone else safe as well.

Download the Young Person’s Safety Briefing fact sheet.

Patient identification bands

Patient identification (ID) bands are placed on your child’s wrist or ankle when they are admitted to the ward and must be worn at all times. Information on the band includes your child’s name, date of birth, and their unique patient record number (called a ‘UR’ number) and barcodes and it helps ensure your child receives the right treatment and medication. You will be asked to confirm the details on the band regularly during their admission. The barcodes on the identification band will be scanned by the clinical staff when your child receives medication, has blood tests and other treatments. This provides an additional safety step in positive patient identification.

Your child will not be able to receive treatment while in hospital if they do not have an ID band. Please speak with nursing staff if your child does not have one.

Infection control

Clean hands keep kids safe
The hospital cares for lots of sick children which means there is a risk of infections spreading to other patients if everyone isn’t careful about keeping their hands germ-free. The best way to keep everyone safe is to clean your hands regularly by using soap and water or hand sanitiser provided throughout the hospital. It is particularly important when you enter and leave the ward.

You should expect to see our staff clean their hands before and after we care for you. If you think we have forgotten, it’s always OK to ask, “have you cleaned your hands?” We appreciate you looking out for our patients and us.

If you have any questions about infection control procedures and preventing the spread of germs in the hospital, please ask our staff.

Healthy visitors only please
To keep infections out of the hospital, it’s important that friends and family members do not visit if they are sick or have recently been sick. Even if they only have very mild symptoms of illness, we ask that they stay away until they are feeling better.

COVID-19
The Queensland Children’s Hospital has processes in place to keep everyone in the hospital safe during the pandemic. For more information, visit our online information hub COVID-19 and your child’s health.

Pressure injuries (bed sores)

Pressure injuries (also known as pressure sores or bed sores) can develop on the skin and underlying tissue when someone spends long periods of time in bed or a wheelchair. They commonly occur anywhere a medical device touches the skin, such as a tube, cast, drip (IV) or monitoring attachment. They can develop quickly, especially when your child is unwell. You can help prevent pressure injuries forming by checking your child’s skin daily, changing their position regularly (if they are unable to move themselves), and practising good hygiene and skin care. If you find an area with redness or a mark, speak with your child’s care team or nurse about ways to relieve the pressure. For more about pressure injuries and how to prevent them, read our fact sheet.

Bedside curtains

In shared rooms, the curtains around your child’s bed should be left open so nursing staff can always see your child and carry out regular checks (or observation) of their condition. Curtains should only be closed for privacy reasons (such as when your child is having a procedure, a sponge bath or toileting) or when mothers are breast-feeding.

Allergies

Flowers and plants
Fresh or dried flowers and live plants are not permitted anywhere in the hospital because they are a potential source of allergens, dirt and insects, all of which may be harmful to a seriously ill patient.

Latex balloons
Latex balloons are not allowed anywhere in the hospital because some of our patients may have latex allergies. Deliveries of latex balloons to the hospital will not be accepted. Mylar and other non-latex balloons for patients are always welcome.

Nuts
All inpatient wards are nut-free due to the risk of allergies to patients.  Please do not bring nuts or products containing nuts (including peanut butter) into wards.

Falls

Falls can happen anywhere but when a child is in hospital the risk of falling increases because illness, injury or medications can cause dizziness, sleepiness or affect balance. Even just being in an unfamiliar place or using new equipment (such as crutches) can make it more likely to have a fall.

To help prevent falls during your stay, we recommend:

  • Wearing non-slip shoes and clothes that fit
  • Keeping rooms tidy and free from clutter
  • Asking for help when using new equipment
  • Taking extra care in bathrooms or if the floor is wet
  • Not running at anytime
  • Not climbing on furniture
  • Always using seat belts and safety harnesses for highchairs and other equipment.
  • Keeping beds, cots and trolleys in the lowest position with the bed rails up and the brakes on.

Footwear

Shoes and slippers should always be worn in the hospital to reduce the risk of foot injuries (from accidental stepping on or kicking something) and to help maintain good hygiene and prevent infection.

Hot drinks

Uncovered hot drinks (tea, coffee, hot chocolate etc.) can cause serious burns if they are accidentally dropped or spilt. All hot drinks consumed in the hospital must be covered with a sealed and secure lid.

Safe sleeping

The Queensland Children’s Hospital follows safe sleeping guidelines for babies to reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), which includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleeping accidents. The guidelines include:

  • Sleeping baby on their back, not on the tummy or side
  • Positioning baby’s feet at the bottom of the cot
  • Ensuring baby’s head and face is uncovered when sleeping
  • Tucking bedding in securely (so it’s not loose)
  • Providing a safe sleeping environment (no fluffy toys, nappies, pillows, loose bedding etc. in the cot)

For more safe sleeping advice, visit Red Nose website.

Ryans rule

Ryan’s Rule

We know that families know their child better than anyone and encourage you to tell us if you think your child’s health condition is getting worse, or not improving as well as expected, while they are in hospital.

Ryan’s Rule is a three-step process to help families or carers raise your concerns.
In the first instance families are encouraged to speak with their child’s nurse or doctor.

If they feel the matter is not resolved, they can then speak to the nurse in charge or call 13 Health (13 43 25 84) to request a Ryan’s Rule clinical review. A Ryan’s Rule call will alert a Medical Emergency Team to visit your child’s bedside and assess the situation.

When NOT to use Ryan’s Rule

Ryan’s Rule should only be used for concerns related to a patient’s health condition getting worse or not improving as expected while they are in hospital. Ryan’s Rule is not for general complaints.

If you have a complaint or other feedback about the care your child has received at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, please talk to the nurse in charge in the first instance. You can also contact our Patient Experience team by calling 3068 1120 or emailing CHQ_PatientExperience@health.qld.gov.au