Children’s wards: information for parents and visitors

We know there is lots you’ll want to know about visiting your child or someone you know on the children’s ward at Barnet Hospital or the Royal Free Hospital.

Below is useful information for parents, carers, friends and relatives who are planning to visit children who are staying with us.

Guidelines: we ask the following of visitors to our children’s wards:

  • Visitors, apart from parents and carers, should leave by 8pm or speak to a paediatric nurse if this is going to be difficult.
  • Please keep visitors to maximum of 2 people at any one time.
  • Please ensure you watch over all children who are visiting with you to ensure calmness for our young patients.

Children’s ward visiting hours

There is open visiting for parents or primary carers on our children’s wards. All other family members are free to visit from 10am to 8pm (unless previously discussed with the paediatric nurse-in-charge). 

The doctors’ round usually starts at 10am and is repeated at intervals. Parents are welcome to attend to ask questions and meet your child, friend or relative’s medical team.

Staying overnight in hospital with your child

  • One parent or carer can stay overnight with their child. 
  • Reclining chairs are provided for you to sleep beside your child. 
  • Sometimes individual rooms are allocated if there is a risk of spreading infection.

Hospital food for children and cultural needs

We offer a tempting menu of dishes to encourage children to eat and provide Halal and Kosher hospital food  for children who require them. Parents can also bring meals and warm them up using hospital kitchen facilities.

Meals are served at the following times:

  • Breakfast 7.30am to 8.30am
  • Lunch 12.30pm
  • Evening 6pm

There is a multi-faith chapel, Muslim prayer room and Sabbath room on the lower ground floor – and a chaplaincy team is available too.

Staff on the children’s ward

All members of our staff wear a Royal Free London photographic identification badge. Our nurses wear a navy blue, child-friendly tunic and blue trousers, while other members of the team wear their own clothes.

Student nurses have placements on the ward and a student nurse may be involved in caring for your child. All student nurses are supervised and are only allocated patients suitable to their level of training.

Play specialists

Play specialists at the Royal Free London are specially trained to help children cope with any anxieties they may have about their visit to hospital. They are also trained to help children understand their illness and why they need to take medication, as well as to distract them during procedures.

Find out more about our play team.

Visiting the ward before your child is admitted to hospital

For many children, a visit to the children’s ward before they are admitted can help reduce any fears they have about coming into hospital. You can arrange this by phoning the play specialists on the children’s ward on 020 7794 0500 extension 33040.


TVs are provided on the children’s ward but switched off by 9pm to ensure children can rest. If there is a programme your child wants to watch that is on later than this, please discuss this with the nurse in charge.

Royal Free Hospital children’s playroom

The playroom at Royal Free Hospital is open from 9am to 5.50pm Monday to Thursday, and 9am-4.50pm on Friday. Your child has to be accompanied by a responsible adult if a play specialist is not in the room.

We also have a separate playroom for adolescents with internet access, games, TV, DVDs, books and magazines.

Royal Free Hospital Children's School

Children don’t need to miss out on their schooling while they are in hospital. If your child is between the ages of 5 and 16 and they are well enough, he or she can attend the Royal Free Hospital Children's School next to the children’s ward at Royal Free Hospital. Children who aren’t well enough to visit the classroom can have bedside sessions.

For more information, visit the Royal Free Hospital Children's School website.