For parent Diane Adams, The Zone at The Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital turned a potentially stressful surgical waiting experience into an unexpectedly positive one. Flooded with difficult memories from a previous hospital experience, Diane brought her young daughter Emma into The Zone’s new surgical waiting area, uncertain about what to expect. Emma was already hungry and restless in her stroller when a Child Life Assistant approached her with age-appropriate toys and a comfortable play mat to cushion the floor. Within moments, Diane marveled as her previously agitated child settled on the mat and happily engaged in play for the remainder of her wait time. Reflecting on the experience several weeks after the surgery, Diane enthused, “I am so grateful that we were able to wait for surgery in an area designed just for pediatric patients. What a great way to begin our day in the hospital. Emma had so much fun in The Zone that I think she would want to come back just to visit!”

Fortunately, moments like these are daily occurrences in the area of The Zone designed exclusively to serve pediatric patients and families on the day they come to the hospital for surgery. Child Life staff is present to provide patients and siblings with play and educational interventions while they await surgery in this toy-filled space lined with comfortable seating. Operational since July 2012, this busy area of the Zone has served patients of all ages, infants to young adults.

Cheryl Strauss, The Zone Clinical Coordinator, emphasizes that the emotional stress of an upcoming surgery as well as the physical discomfort of food and drink restrictions leave this population particularly vulnerable. She states, “We recognize that a surgical experience can be frightening for all family members. Our goal is to create a supportive environment where families can cope most effectively.”

"This is only one of a thousand great uses for the Zones. I believe with all my heart that stories like this were what Troy Aikman and Mike Reilly were predicting would happen from the inception of the first Zone over 20 years ago.” Said Garth Brooks, CO-Founder of Teammates for Kids “The best part about the Zone is they are only going to get better and more valuable to their hospitals and patients as time goes on. We are truly onto something timeless here."