If a child is unconscious, not breathing, having convulsions or seizures, call 911.

Poison Control Center
Hennepin Regional Poison Center / Minnesota Poison Control System
Emergency Phone: (800) 222-1222
TDD/TTY: (800) 222-1222 (612) 904-4691 (TTY)

At Sanford Bemidji Medical Center's Pediatric Department our mission is to improve the health of children by providing high-quality service, education, and a loving environment. Children need specialized care and extra special attention, especially in the hospital.  A child’s hospital stay can be scary and stressful for everyone in the family, so we are dedicated to making your family's hospital experience as positive and informative as possible. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to improve your stay. Our staff is easy to talk to and good at helping kids and their families adjust to unfamiliar routines and surroundings.  

What to Expect during your Child’s Stay      

Your child will be admitted to one of our private pediatric rooms upon arrival.  We encourage you to stay with your child and can provide a pull out bed so you may stay overnight with your child.  Each room has a TV/VCR and we offer a wide variety of videos, games, books, and toys to help make you and your child’s stay more enjoyable. Nintendo video systems are also available. We have lounge areas if you would like to get out of the room. Wagons are available to take your child on a ride through the hallways or to visit the lounge.We encourage parents to bring the child’s favorite items from home such as their favorite toy, blanket, pillow, etc. This allows for a bit of comfort in a strange and unfamiliar place.

Understanding the hospital

Talk with your child every day to find out what she understands about what's happening at the hospital and with her care and treatment.

Encourage your child to ask the nurses and doctors questions. If your child is not able to do this, write down the questions and ask them yourself in your child's presence.

The Hospital Experience

Parents often ask for information about how to talk with their child about the hospital. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare your child for a hospital stay.

  • Choose a quiet time to talk and use a calm and relaxed tone of voice. Tell your child that he or she will be going to the hospital and why.
  • Ask what your child knows or thinks about the hospital. Listen to your child's feelings, and help her talk about them.
  • Encourage your child to ask you and the doctors and nurses a lot of questions.
  • Try to choose words that are neutral when describing procedures and tests to your child. For example, you might say, "The nurse will 'slide' the needle into your arm," rather than "The nurse will 'stick' or 'poke' a needle into your arm."
  • Build your child's confidence by involving her in organizing and packing a few things to help them during their visit. Encourage your child to bring her favorite toys to the hospital, such as a stuffed animal, pillow, and videos. Please label all belongings with your child’s name. You are responsible for any item brought from home.
  • Let your child know that it is okay to feel many different ways about going to the hospital, for example, curious, worried, angry, or frustrated.

Sending Smiles Program

Sending Smiles is a volunteer-driven program that works to brighten the days of children and their parents admitted to the Family Care Center. A volunteer delivers a small present to the patient or a coffee coupon to the parents and lets them know that we care about each individual and their experience at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center.

Visiting Hours and Parents Sleeping Over

General visiting hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

We encourage you to be involved in your child’s care. Beds are available so you may stay with your child at night. Feel free to use the shower in the room, we will be happy to provide towels. Discount hospital dining coupons for meal purchases are also available. We encourage parents to take breaks as needed; your health is our concern as well. There is an indoor healing garden and outdoor healing garden at the hospital. The indoor garden is open year round. When you are unable to be with your child, please give the nurse a telephone number where you can be reached.

A detailed visitor policy can be found here.

Your Child’s Safety and Security

  • Your child’s safety is as important to us as their health. All staff authorized to work with your child must wear a Sanford Health photo ID badge. Staff authorized to work with babies and pediatric patients will have a yellow “Baby OK” badge.
  • Your child may not leave the pediatric care area at any time.
  • When your child is in the crib or bed the safety rails must be up at all times to prevent falling. 
  • Children must wear slippers or shoes when walking. Slippers are available if you haven’t brought any from home.
  • Do not leave any medications, valuable, cigarettes, matches, or lighters within the reach of children. Sanford Health and its campus are smoke free. No smoking is permitted in the building or on the grounds.
  • When you are unable to be with your child, please notify the nurse and give them a telephone number where you can be reached.  You can call the Pediatric Department at any time regarding your child.  The phone number is (218) 333-6480.  For confidentiality reasons, information about your child will only be given to parents/guardians unless we have received special instructions from you to give information to others.
  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s care.
  • Infant seats and highchairs are available. Please be sure your child is properly secured.
  • To protect your child and others from exposure and illness, please ask your nurse before taking your child out of his/her room.


  • You may call the pediatric area (218-333-6480) at any time regarding your child. We will only give out information to parents unless we have received special instructions from you to give information to others.
  • We cannot give out information about other patients.
  • Hospital staff is mandated by law to report suspected abuse and/or neglect.
  • Our HIPAA Privacy Policy

Recommended Reading to Prepare for a Hospital Stay

Reading is a great way to introduce your child to the idea of coming to the hospital.There are many books that include trips to the hospital by favorite characters like Clifford, Curious George, and the Berenstain Bears. The following book list is a great place to start. These titles should be available at bookstores or the public library.

  • A Visit to the Sesame Street Hospital: Grover learns that he needs an operation. He goes on a hospital tour with his mother and familiar Sesame Street friends to explore the hospital environment. 
  • Clifford Visits the Hospital: Clifford visits the hospital and gets into mischief everywhere he goes.
  • Curious George Goes to the Hospital: Readers learn all about the hospital as George goes in for an operation to remove a puzzle piece he has eaten.
  • Franklin Goes to the Hospital: Franklin's shell has cracked, and he needs to be a brave turtle when it's time to go to the hospital. 
  • Going to the Hospital: This book by Fred Rogers uses real-life pictures of children, parents, and hospital staff. It describes different parts of a hospital stay.
  • Your Child in the Hospital: A Practical Guide for Parents: By Nancy Keene and Rachel Prentice (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.). This book helps parents prepare a child physically and emotionally for a hospital experience, including an outpatient test or overnight stay.