Visiting Hours and Guidelines
Last Updated: June 5, 2023
At Children's National Hospital, parents and guardians can be with their child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All other visitors can see patients from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Children’s National is taking extra steps to protect our patients, families and staff. Effective August 26, 2022:
- Visitor Screening. To protect our patients, staff and others, any individual who suspects they are sick or have symptoms associated with any infectious illness should not visit.
- Mask Policy. Masking is optional at all of our facilities.
- Outpatient Appointments (including the Emergency Department (ED)). Two (2) people can accompany each patient to an outpatient appointment or ED visit.
- Primary Care Appointments. Two (2) people (18 years and over) can accompany their child to any of our Children’s Health Centers or Children’s National Pediatricians & Associates.
- Inpatient Stays. At the time of admission, four (4) people can be identified to visit a patient admitted to the hospital. Only two (2) people can be at the bedside at a time. All visitors under the age of 18 must have adult supervision at all times, and may not stay overnight. All visitors must check in with the nurses or social workers on the child’s unit to be sure patients and their families have agreed that the patient can have visitors. Please ask about the visiting hours and rules on the unit. Read more about our inpatient stays at Children's National Hospital.
- Sibling Visitation. Siblings under 18 years of age may not visit at this time. Read more about our inpatient stays at Children's National.
- Patients with, or suspected to have, COVID-19. The visitation for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection is limited to two (2) designated people.
Please read the specifics below, as we continue to evaluate and adjust the visitor policy to ensure the safety of patients, families and staff. While the decision to restrict our visitation policy was difficult, we thank you for helping us keep our community safe.
COVID-19 Family and Caregiver Visitation Policy
Electronic Security Screening
Children’s National Hospital has security screening in place to keep our patients, their families and our employees safe. At our main campus and UMC Emergency Department location, we have electronic security screening in place.
Visitors will walk through the screening system at a regular pace. There is no need to remove items such as phones, wallets and/or keys. Visitors may want to remove eyeglass cases, umbrellas and/or laptops prior to walking through. Security personnel may ask visitors to participate in additional screening after they pass through the system.
The following items are not permitted at any Children’s National Hospital location:
- Drugs, including:
- The use of tobacco/vaping products
The electronic security system manufacturer, Evolv, ensures the safety of the product. An alternative screening process is available for anyone who has safety concerns.
According to Evolv: Evolv is dedicated to safety, quality, and consistency of our products. The Evolv Express system has been safety tested and meets certifications.
According to Evolv: In keeping with FDA guidance on Electronic Alert System (EAS) and walk-through metal detectors, it is recommended that visitors and system operators with implantable or wearable medical devices consult their device manufacturer or physician for information relating to their own specific device.
According to Evolv: The Evolv uses extremely low frequency radio waves (ELF) – a non-ionizing sensing modality – in compliance with IEEE’s 2019 guidance for safe operation with the general public, which they define as including pregnant people and their unborn children.
Additional Information for Visitors
Children’s National uses an Elevator Destination system. This system enables visitors to enter the floor they are traveling to, and the elevator system will alert them to which elevator cab will be traveling to their destination. This system enhances our visitor’s experience by enabling patients, families and visitors traveling to destinations in our main building to reach their floor in a more efficient and timely manner.
This dispatching system directs passengers to the elevator that will get them to their destination with the shortest travel time. By grouping people together based on the floor they are traveling to, the number of stops are reduced, thereby improving the efficiency of the building's elevators. There are two touch screens located at the Costco Wholesale Atrium elevator bank, and touch screens are located at every floor in the main building. If you have questions about using the elevator system, please see the Welcome Desk.
- If you are sick, please do not visit, unless you are the parent or guardian and must come to the hospital to get care for your child. This helps us prevent the spread of illness to other patients, families and our employees. If you are sick and must be here to get care for your child, please let the Welcome Desk or a nurse on your child’s unit know.
- Children’s National is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is not permitted inside the hospital and is not permitted anywhere on the hospital campus. Additionally, smoking is not permitted in any of Children’s specialty care locations or in any of Children’s clinics.
- Alcohol and drugs are not permitted in the hospital.
- Please leave electrical equipment, such as hair dryers and radios, at home.
- You may use cell phones and wireless devices throughout the hospital. Please keep conversations quiet to respect other patients and families.
- You may not use camera phones or other cameras to take pictures within the hospital; this is to protect the privacy of others.
- If family or friends want to send gifts, flowers or mylar balloons (no latex balloons) to a patient, they must order from an outside vendor. Items can be sent to the hospital’s address (111 Michigan Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20010) with the patient’s name and room number.
- Please keep valuables at home. We try to maintain a secure environment, but cannot guarantee the security of valuables left in waiting areas, playrooms or patient rooms.
It’s important to help fight the spread of infection. All visitors should:
- Clean your hands thoroughly before and after you visit a patient. Also clean your hands before touching or eating food, after you use the bathroom and after you sneeze or cough, especially if you have covered your mouth with your hands. Remember, hand washing is the single best way to prevent the spread of infection. All visitors are welcome to use any sink or waterless gel dispenser to clean hands at any time.
- If your hands are visibly dirty, it is best to use soap and hot water, and to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If hands are not visibly dirty, you can either wash with soap and water or use waterless gel. Waterless gel is available for your use throughout the hospital. You can find wall units of gel throughout the units, at the nurse stations and in patient rooms. It is best to rub your hands together with the gel for at least 20 seconds or until the gel is gone.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Use tissues, throw them away and then clean your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or elbow. If you use your hands to cover your sneeze or cough, wash them right away with soap and water or use waterless gel if soap and water are not easily available.
As a precaution to protect our patients, families and staff, Children’s National Hospital has suspended hospital tours and changed the format of pre-surgical tours to video access only
. This is part of our efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community.
We Will Get Through This Together
We understand that things can be stressful for you and your family during the pandemic, especially with the new restrictions in our visitation policy and changes to how we provide care. Our Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) has a special message for you.
Children's National Hospital and its affiliates do not restrict or deny visitation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.