What is a Starlight Gown?

Starlight kid, Kyrell, approves of his cool Chicago Cubs-themed Starlight Gown.

When a child has to go to the hospital, they’re usually scared, in pain and already missing out on the things that make being a kid great. Changing out of their own comfy clothes into an uncomfortable and clinical-looking hospital gown can be one of the most stressful moments for kids. If you’ve ever been to the hospital or even sometimes just the doctor’s office, you know what that’s like: not fun.

We wanted to change that for kids. Starlight Gowns reimagine children’s hospital wear as fun, comfy, and colorful hospital gowns that feel more like a kid’s favorite t-shirt or pajamas. Since the introduction of Starlight Gowns just two years ago, the most incredible thing has happened: kids actually LOVE to wear their hospital gowns!

Since 2016, we have distributed 214,172 Starlight Gowns to 347 hospitals and pediatric units in 48 states.

“When kids receive a cool hospital gown, it changes their whole experience,” said Kelsey Davis, Certified Child Life Specialist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital. “I’ve seen parents moved to tears when I hand their child a Starlight Gown and they smile. They didn’t expect their child to smile at all during the hospital visit.”

We believe every seriously ill child deserves to enjoy a Starlight Gown. And now you can help us make that a reality.

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What makes a Starlight Gown special?

Starlight Gowns are made of top-quality material and approved for use in the hospital or clinical setting. Starlight Gowns are superior to regular hospital gowns because they meet both the functional needs of hospital staff and cognitive needs of pediatric patients.

Nurses at Dignity Health – Northridge Hospital Medical Center compare a typical hospital gown to a colorful Starlight Gown.

Other awesome features include:

  • Soft, comfortable fabric that feels like a child’s favorite t-shirt or pajamas
  • Dozens of fun designs
  • Ties on the side for full coverage, rather than a drafty opening in the back
  • Plastic snaps on both sleeves for convenient access to chest ports and other procedures and can be safely used in an MRI
  • Provided at no cost to our network of over 800 hospital partners across the country

The Impact

According to a research study surveying our hospital partners, we gained invaluable insight into the impact of our program.

92% of families surveyed agree or strongly agree that their child feels better about how they look in a Starlight Gown than a traditional gown.

Starlight kid, Addy, was going in for heart surgery and she has a sensory processing disorder and the fabric of a typical hospital gown was agitating her skin. She refused to wear it. Then a nurse brought her a Starlight Gown that Addy immediately put on with a smile.

Starlight kid, Avery, loves the comfort and accessibility of her Starlight Gown when it comes to her bi-weekly treatment.

“Having something like a gown, may seem like a small thing, but it really is a big thing to kids like Addy,” Addy’s mom, Stephanie said. “She smiled so bright!”

The average hospital gown does not easily accommodate certain medical procedures, such as connecting IVs or taking X-rays. 86% of families and 87% of staff reported that the Starlight Gown’s design makes performing these tasks easy and efficient for medical staff and less stressful for children.

“Starlight Gowns help normalize the environment for nervous kids prior to procedures and helps ease their transition back to the operating room,” said Kellie Matters, CCLS at Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill.

What’s next?

Thanks to our corporate partners and our annual “My Starlight Gown” design contest, we are always adding more designs to our Starlight Gown collection. We ensure all designs are child-friendly and appeal to kids of varying ages.

We’ll continue to evaluate the fabric, impact, and quality to ensure the highest level of comfort, accessibility, and support to children and staff.

Starlight kid, Finn, feels strong in his Starlight Gown inspired by a CHD heart warrior.

For Starlight mom, Kelly, whose son has a congenital heart defect, she has seen first- hand how many times a Starlight Gown has made her son happier. And she has a big hope for the future.

“Wouldn’t it be so nice if it were possible to switch out all hospital gowns to Starlight Gowns?” Kelly said. “It would make such a difference!”

Help deliver happiness to a seriously ill child and donate a Starlight Gown for $25 today. 

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About the Author

Tara Millspaugh

Digital Media Manager

Comments 2

  1. How can one see what hospitals these are in, or help get it started in my local area? I would love to be a local ambassador if this is needed!

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