Child Life Program

At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, we understand how overwhelming healthcare and hospitalization can be, especially for children. We're dedicated to improving that experience by engaging and empowering pediatric patients in their own medical care. The Child Life team at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital helps infants, children, youth, and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, loss and bereavement.

They provide evidence-based, developmentally and psychologically appropriate interventions including therapeutic play, distraction and preparation for procedures, and education to reduce fear, uncertainty, and pain. These services are available to patients and families at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital at no extra charge.

Learn more about these programs and resources below.

Teddy Bear Tours

The Teddy Bear Tour Program is run by child life specialists and is recommended for children 2-12 years old, but available for any age. There is no cost for this program.

What is included in the program?

  • Opportunity to see pictures of the surgery area, including pre-op, the operating room and recovery room. If your child will be staying overnight after surgery, a tour of the unit in the hospital may be available.
  • Opportunity to see medical equipment that will be used on the day of surgery (e.g., pulse oximeter, anesthesia mask).
  • Tours are scheduled on an individual basis and are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tours last about 20 - 30 minutes.

Please call 954-265-0551 to schedule a tour.

teddy bear clinic

Playrooms & Child Life Assistants

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital believes in the power of play to promote positive healing.  Our playrooms are the heart of the hospital – a “safe place” where kids can be kids away from tests, needles, and treatments. Here, young patients can socialize with other children and enjoy supervised activities such as arts and crafts, playing games, and reading. You can find playrooms throughout the hospital.

Lotsy Dotsy

Smart Snippet: Video
Datasource: Lotsy Dotsy Joe D tour      

For more than two decades, Lotsy Dotsy, Joe DiMaggio's resident clown, has been turning frowns into smiles through entertaining activities designed to provide patients and their families with a welcomed distraction. Young ones and grown-ups alike enjoy singing songs, blowing bubbles and playing the harmonica with Lotsy Dotsy.

To request a visit from Lotsy Dotsy, call 954-265-DOTS (3687).

Clown therapy

Hospital Homebound School Program

In partnership with Broward County Schools, a Broward County homebound teacher is on site during regular school hours to help hospitalized children (K-12) keep up with their schoolwork.

Pet Therapy

One of our most beloved members of the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital team is our four-legged co-worker, Freedom. Freedom is our friendly facility dog that you may spot during your stay here. Visits can be requested by calling the BARK line, 954-265-BARK (2275).

Freedom Therapy Dog

Special Events

We are always on the lookout for new and fun programming for our patients and families. Interested in being a Special Visitor? Please fill out our Special Events Request Form.


Are you a previous Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital patient between the ages of 13-19 and interested in attending our annual Prom? Please visit our Prom page for more information.


Patients at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital rely on the generosity of our community to brighten their hospital stay. Your donation of new, unused, unwrapped gifts helps create a comfortable, healing environment. For more information please see our wish list.

Child Life Students

If you're a child life student, please explore the unique learning opportunities at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.