Pediatric death kits


  • Specializes in ER, telemetry. Has 11 years experience.

Does your ER have some kind of kit for pediatric deaths, with stuff in it like hand print kits, hand molds, lockets for hair, etc...? What exactly does it have in it? How does your hospital handle pediatric deaths? Our ER doesn't get a lot of them, but when we do, it is traumatic for everyone involved. What do you do to try to comfort the parents?


1,246 Posts

Has 36 years experience.

I think a lot that is done may be according to why the child died. Unless it's a chronic illness, won't most of these deaths get autopsied? I don't think the ME is going to approve of handprints and molds.

Specializes in Cardiac, ER. Has 18 years experience.

We have a memory kit. It has a ribbon to tie off a lock of hair, ink and a place for hand/foot prints, it's all in a pretty box, and the medical examiner doesn't have a problem at all. If we cut some hair we just document it.

kessadawn, BSN, RN

1 Article; 300 Posts

Specializes in pediatric critical care. Has 7 years experience.

I work in PICU. We make hand/foot mold on every patient that has passed, unless the family doesn't want them. It makes no difference if it is an ME case or not, but perhaps that is a state by state issue. The only "snag" may be if there is an IV in the hand or foot that cannot be removed d/t being an ME case, but we usually just work around it. We also provide locks of hair in tiny zipclose bags, offer to make inked hand/foot prints, if there is time enough we offer family the use of our AV staff to take family photos, or sometimes photos have been taken after the child has passed, usually that is an infant demise. We also have soft teddy bears for siblings that carry a message that says something like " I am Huggy Bear, I want to be your new friend, I'm sorry your (brother/sister) isn't here with you, but you can tell me secrets and give me hugs for (him/her) and I will always make sure (he/she) gets them!" A soft fleece blanket to wrap the child in is also useful, the bright colors can take away from the look of a hospital setting, and it's something the parent can take home with them. Hope that helps.

Our kids have hand/food print molds, hand/foot print ink prints, ribbon for a lock of hair, and a box to put it all in. The molds get sent out and then mailed to the family but the rest they take home the same day. We document making the kit and where the lock of hair is clipped from.