Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

The night before your surgery - children

Description

Follow the instructions from your child's doctor for the night before surgery. The directions should tell you when your child has to stop eating or drinking, and any other special instructions. Use the information below as a reminder.

Alternative Names

Surgery - child; Preoperative - night before

Stopping Food and Drinks the Night Before Surgery

Stop giving your child solid food after 11 p.m. the night before surgery. Your child should not eat or drink any of the following:

  • Solid food
  • Juice with pulp
  • Milk
  • Cereal
  • Candy or chewing gum

Give your child clear liquids up until 2 hours before the scheduled time at the hospital. Here is a list of clear liquids:

  • Apple juice
  • Gatorade
  • Pedialyte
  • Water
  • Jell-O without fruit
  • Popsicles without fruit
  • Clear broth

If you are breastfeeding, you can breastfeed your baby until 4 hours before the scheduled time to come to the hospital.

If your baby is drinking formula, stop giving your baby formula 6 hours before the scheduled time to come to the hospital. DO NOT put cereal in the formula after 11 p.m.

Medicines

Give your child medicines that you and the doctor agreed you should give. Check with the doctor to see if you should give the usual doses. If you are confused about which medicines to give your child the night before or the day of surgery, call the doctor.

Stop giving your child any medicines that make it harder for your child's blood to clot. Stop giving them about 3 days before surgery. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), and other medicines.

DO NOT give your child any supplements, herbs, vitamins, or minerals before surgery unless your doctor said it is OK.

Bring a list of all of your child's medicines to the hospital. Include the ones that you were told to stop giving before surgery. Write down the dosage and how often you give them.

Give Your Child a Bath

Give your child a bath the night before surgery. You want them to be clean. Your child may not have a bath again for days. Your child should not wear nail polish, have fake nails, or wear jewelry during surgery.

Have your child dress in loose-fitting, comfortable clothes.

Pack a special toy, stuffed animal, or blanket. Label items with your child's name.

Symptoms to Report

If your child does not feel well in the days before or on the day of surgery, call the surgeon's office. Let your surgeon know if your child has:

  • Any skin rashes or skin infections
  • Cold, or flu, symptoms or cough
  • Fever

References

Emil S. Patient- and family-centered pediatric surgical care. In: Coran AG, ed. Pediatric Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 16.

Neumayer L, Ghalyaie N. Principles of preoperative and operative surgery. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 10.

Review Date:12/9/2016
Reviewed By:Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No