at crowded Middlemore Hospital
The number of beds for older children is also down, leaving families and already busy staff stressed as they decide who can be admitted and who should be cared for at home.
The bed cuts were because of building work taking place and come as a big spike in respiratory illnesses hit the hospital.
Counties Manukau District Health Board said the hospital was initially down 26 beds across both neonatal and paediatric care.
But since a surge in sick children about three weeks ago, it set up eleven beds in the playroom, a spokesperson said.
RNZ was told the playroom was set up nicely with armchairs for parents and a divider between cots.
A treatment room usually used to bath children with conditions like burns has also been converted for two beds, a source said.