Children in Hospital Ireland (CIH Ireland) is a national organisation established in 1970 by parents to promote a positive hospital experience for all children and families. With a team of 300 volunteers across 14 hospitals nationwide, CIH Ireland facilitates play and recreation opportunities, thereby easing the experience of hospitalisation for children and their families. CIH also provides welcoming and wayfinding services in CHI at Crumlin and advocates on behalf of all children and their families to ensure they have access to the supports and services they need, before, during and after hopsitalisation.

Did you know?

  • Each year in Ireland there are, on average, over 270,000 hospital visits by children!
  • For over 100,000 children this means an average of a 3-night stay.
  • Every year, 75,000 child inpatients are under 4 years of age and almost all are admitted through A&E – an unexpected and unplanned visit.

Children are particularly vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. For them, being in hospital can be a source of anxiety and fear, especially if they are unexpectedly separated from their family. Along with having to cope with illness, this difficult experience can affect their normal growth and development.

Our play service provides engaging and supportive play in wards, playrooms, emergency departments and outpatient departments. Play in hospital creates a sense of normalcy for the child while helping them build the confidence and resilience to cope with their illness.  It provides a distraction from the stress of being in hospital while giving parents a break, knowing their child is happy and safe with our play volunteers.


We would like to introduce you to the people whose hard work  
and commitment ensures that Children in Hospital Ireland  
continues to make hospital a happier place for children. 


Since its establishment in 1970, Children in Hospital Ireland’s team of staff, supporters and volunteers have played a major role in initiating and furthering changes in how children are cared for in Irish hospitals.

CIH Ireland has sought to highlight:

  • The rights and welfare of children in hospital.
  • The specific challenges faced by children in hospital and their parents or carers.
  • The right of the child in hospital to play.
  • The need for a more child-centred approach in the provision of healthcare services for children.

CIH Ireland is widely recognised to have played an important role in influencing many positive changes that have occurred in hospital care for children in Ireland over recent decades.

Children in Hospital Ireland is at the forefront in:

  • Promoting the welfare of sick children by drawing attention to their special needs for emotional security
  • Advocating on behalf of all sick children
  • Supporting and helping parents before, during and after their child’s stay in hospital
  • Highlighting the additional needs of sick children to policy and decision makers
  • Organising hospital play schemes with the help of a group of dedicated volunteers

Making hospital a happier place for children through play and advocacy