Before Your Child’s Surgery

Frequently Asked Questions

Can parents and visitors bring food and drink with them?

Food and drink are allowed in public waiting areas. No food or drink is allowed in the pre-operative areas or recovery room area (the Post Anesthesia Care Unit or PACU). Only food or drink for patients is allowed in the recovery area for children going home.

How long will surgery take?

This will be different for each surgery. Your surgeon can answer this best.

Will we be at the hospital all day?

You should make plans to be at the hospital all day.

Can parents go to the operating room with their child?

This may be different for each surgery. You can discuss this with your child’s anesthesiologist on the day of surgery. You will be with your child in the pre-operative area.

Can parents go to the recovery room to see their child?

Two parents or guardians may be invited to come to the recovery room. Your child may not be awake yet. Your child may not recognize you right away and may be crying. Parents can help their child by talking quietly to them. Other siblings, relatives, friends, or visitors will need to wait in the waiting area.

When will the IV (intravenous line) be placed?

The anesthesiologist will decide if the IV needs to be placed before going back to the operating room or if it will be placed after your child is asleep.

What can I do to help my child during IV placement or when blood is being drawn?

Ask what might be available to numb the area, such as numbing creams or the Buzzy. Ask if you can hold your child in a position that is comforting, such as sitting on your lap. If your child prefers not to watch, provide something fun such as an interactive book or toy to help distract and provide a visual screen between the child and the needle. Give positive instructions such as, “Now is the time to hold still and take a breath. Let’s pretend that we’re blowing out birthday candles.”    

Will my child be admitted overnight?

This will be different for each surgery. Your surgeon will be able to answer this best.

What should I bring to the hospital?

An item that makes your child feel good, such as a special blanket, stuffed animal, or toy (you may bring more if your child is staying overnight)

  • Medication list
  • Inhalers
  • Ostomy supplies
  • CPAP machine
  • Catheter supplies
  • Braces
  • Special formulas
  • Specialized walkers

Kids can bring:

  • Pajamas and slippers
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • School work
  • Music
  • Favorite photos

Can I use my cellphone?

Cellphones can be used in all areas except within three feet of monitors and equipment (like IV poles).

Where is smoking allowed?

Smoking is not allowed. Staff can give directions to areas where smoking is allowed.