Howie's Place

  • Howie’s Place

    For families


    The Royal Children’s Hospital is no ordinary hospital. Our host Rachael shows you all the fun things you can do, from watching some very cheeky meerkats, to enjoying pet therapy and playing in the Starlight Express Room. Take a sneak peak at the heart ward too, which we call the Koala Ward. And of course, meet our favourite furry friend, Howie.

    About your heart

    Why is your heart so important? It works together with your lungs to pump blood around your body, spreading oxygen to your cells. But sometimes the heart doesn’t work as it should. Find out what the heart looks like, how it should work, and what sometimes goes wrong.

    What happens on pre admission day?

    Pre admission day, or ‘prep day’, is a chance for your heart doctor to learn more about your heart before you have surgery. Your doctor will perform a few simple tests on your heart. These tests may feel a bit strange, but they are quick and don’t hurt a bit. You can make prep day easier by preparing well yourself – remember to bring your medications, health records, and of course toys, games and snacks.

    What happens in an echo test?

    An echo machine is a camera that takes pictures of your heart using sound waves. The machine makes funny ‘whooshing’ noises and needs a special jelly to work. The camera takes photos from lots of different angles and joins them together to form a movie of your heart beating.

    What happens in an ECG test?

    Have you heard your heart beat? It’s like a drum. It beats with a special rhythm that is unique to you and different to anybody else’s heart rhythm. An ECG machine listens to your heart and draws a pattern of how it beats, just like notes on a sheet of music. Your heart doctor will look at this pattern to understand if the different parts of your heart are pumping in the right order.

    For kids

    The bear who cares

    Howie is a friendly bear who lives at The Royal Children’s Hospital. He’s here to ensure you make the most of your stay in hospital while you recover from heart surgery. He shows you all the fun things you can do, including visiting the meerkats and the aquarium. Together, you can explore your bedroom on the Koala Ward and meet our friendly doctors, teachers and educational play therapists.

    Heart and lungs

    An easy way to understand how your heart and lungs work together to keep you healthy is to imagine a racing car track. Join Howie as he pretends to be a blood cell driving a racing car. Howie sprints to the lungs to fill up his tank with oxygen. He then races the oxygen to the heart before shooting off into the bloodstream.

    Packing for hospital

    Howie shows you what to pack before you come to The Royal Children’s Hospital for heart surgery. Be sure to bring your pyjamas, toothbrush, slippers, dressing gown and, of course, your favourite toy.

    Howie supporters Heart Kids The Royal Children's Hospital The Honda Foundation