A new study conducted with Australian midwives and nurses has found that 99 percent believe that hugs and affection are an important part of the healing process for sick children -- and 98 percent believe that hugs can help children recover more quickly during illness.
Mums agree with the findings, with two thirds saying that a hug makes their child feel calm.
“A child develops over 80 percent of their brain capacity in the first four years, and during this crucial period, physical touch is fundamental. Hugs help children in their attachment with their parent or caregiver, reduce heart rates and blood pressure, increase immunity and just generally make feel them better," said Sydney Children’s Hospital Head of Child Life Therapy, Janet Burke.
“So in the context of every child’s development, hugs are important, but when you think of a child who’s incredibly sick, and may be attached to machines or have lots of procedures done to them, the comfort and healing that can come from hugs and touch is crucial.”
To share the power of a hug with sick babies and toddlers across Australia, Huggies has launched the "Hugs for Healing" initiative with Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia, which aims to deliver a hug to these children by funding much needed, high-priority equipment.
This is the third year that Huggies has worked with the Children’s Hospitals Foundations Australia, which supports five of Australia’s most well-known hospitals. Throughout November, Huggies is calling for Australians to spread the word and pass on a hug, and contribute with donations.
“The number of children visiting our hospitals grows each year, and to be able to accommodate for this we need support," Warner said.
"Huggies has helped to purchase essential machines such as BabyTherm infant warming systems for neo-natal, monitors for children undergoing surgery and important machines for our Newborn Intensive Care Units. But there is more work to be done."
During the month of November, Huggies will donate $1 from every Huggies Nappies Bulk pack sold to Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia, up to $150,000.
These funds will help to fund high priority pieces of medical equipment, specifically targeted at sick babies and toddlers.
“It’s also crucial for parents and carers to get physical touch and hugs with their children while they’re in hospital," Warner said.
"It’s often a time when parents and carers may feel disempowered; they’re not sure what their role is, because as a parent you’re supposed to be the expert and when you find your child critically ill in hospital, all of a sudden there’s a team of people who are the experts, and people can feel like they are on the sidelines.
"Wherever possible, hospital staff and volunteers will do their utmost to facilitate that time for attachment and bonding with hugs and cuddles."