The Day before Your Child's Surgery

The day before your child's surgery, you'll need to get yourself, your child and the rest of the family ready. In addition to these suggestions, please remember that your child's healthcare team may also have instructions specific to your child's surgery and condition; be sure to talk to them if you have any questions about how to prepare.

Call for an arrival time

If your child is having surgery at the Main Hospital in Philadelphia, call 267-425-4699 between 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. the day before surgery to get your child's arrival time. If your child is having surgery on a Monday, please call us on Friday.

If your child is having surgery at one of our Ambulatory Surgery Centers, we'll let you know your child's arrival time 24 to 48 hours before the day of surgery.

Check your child's health

It's important that your child be in the best possible health when she has her surgery. Please call the surgeon's office if your child has:

  • Been exposed to infectious diseases such as measles, mumps or chickenpox
  • Been experiencing cold symptoms — such as cold, runny nose, cough or fever
  • Had any change in her usual health
  • Had any aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil,Motrin) — or any products containing them — during the two weeks before surgery

Make necessary arrangements

Please remember that a parent or legal guardian needs to be with your child on the day of surgery; we ask that this person not leave during the child's stay. If you have other children, you should make arrangements for their care so you can be with your child.

After the operation, your child may be sleepy or uncomfortable, so we suggest that you arrange for a ride or a taxi home. Please do this before the day of surgery.

Pack the bags

We provide pajamas, slippers and toiletries for your child, but to make him more comfortable, you may want to bring your own. For more information about what to bring with you, please visit What to Pack.

Prepare to care for your child after surgery

When your child comes home from the hospital, you may have your hands full just helping her recuperate. You'll find it easier to care for her if you stock up on a few items before she goes for surgery. You should have:

  • Soup
  • Popsicles
  • Clear liquids, such as apple juice and GATORADE
  • Aspirin-free pain relief medications, such as TYLENOL and MOTRIN (Ibuprofen)

Your child might be able to eat whatever he usually does. You may want to have a few of his usual favorites on hand.

Follow your surgeon's preoperative instructions

Depending on what type of surgery your child is having, he'll have specific preparations to make. It's especially important for you to make sure he follows the eating and drinking restrictions his procedure requires, or the surgery may need to be rescheduled. Learn more about eating and drinking restrictions for your child, and if you have any questions, be sure to talk to your child's doctor.

Patients scheduled for certain types of surgery will be instructed to use CHG wipes at home the night before surgery and the morning of surgery. CHG (chlorhexidine gluconate) is a cleaning product that is even more effective than regular soap for cleaning the skin. These videos show step by step instructions on how to perform a CHG treatment:

Other preparation instructions

Remove your child's nail polish, fake nails, jewelry (including any jewelry in piercings), and makeup. If she has long hair, please put it in a ponytail. If your child wears contact lenses, please bring a lens storage case and her glasses with you.

If you have referrals for the surgeon, anesthesiologist or hospital, you may bring them with you on the day of surgery.

Make sure you've packed and prepared yourself, too


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