Preparing for My Child’s Surgery

Preparing for My Child’s Surgery

Before surgery at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health in Oklahoma City, your child’s doctor will give you specific instructions on what you should bring, what your child should wear and when your child can eat. To assure that your child can proceed with surgery while remaining as safe as possible throughout the process, you must carefully follow all instructions.

Instructions for Food or Drink Before Surgery

  • For a period of time before surgery, your child can have nothing to eat or drink. Your doctor may use the term “NPO,” which means “nothing by mouth.”

  • No food or milk products after midnight the day of surgery.

  • Two hours before arriving at the hospital, your child may have only clear liquids – any drink you can see through, such as Sprite, 7-Up, ginger ale, apple juice, water or Pedialyte.

  • If your child drinks breast milk, you may feed until 4 hours before arriving at the hospital.

  • If your child drinks formula, you may feed until 6 hours before arriving at the hospital.

As you get ready to bring your child to the hospital, follow the guidelines below.

What to Bring

Bring a favorite toy or blanket and information about your child’s medications. Always prepare to spend one night at the hospital, “just in case.” A small overnight bag might include toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, comfortable clothes, undergarments, pajamas, and socks or slippers. Do not bring any valuable items.

Where Your Child Goes After Surgery

Immediately after surgery, your child goes to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), also known as the recovery room, to wake up. The process may take an hour or more. Depending on the procedure and the doctor performing the surgery, your child may spend the night in one of our comfortable private rooms or they may be discharged to go home.

When to Stay Overnight or Visit

If your child spends the night in the hospital, you’re encouraged to stay with them. One parent can always stay through the night. Your child won’t need to share a room because all pediatric patient rooms are private.

Visiting hours for the Outpatient Surgery area or the Recovery Room are flexible, with parents welcome at all times. Other visitors can take advantage of our spacious waiting room, although some restrictions may apply to visitors after 9 p.m.

More About Preparing for Surgery

Download and review the information below to help you prepare yourself and your child for an upcoming surgical procedure at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health, or watch our helpful video:

  • Outpatient Surgery Guidelines for Parents [PDF]
  • Goodbye Fears Flippable Online Booklet
  • Coloring Book: Flying Through Outpatient Surgery with Chipper [PDF]
  • Parental Presence During Anesthesia Induction (PPI) [PDF]
  • Pre-Surgery Eating and Drinking (NPO) Guidelines – English [PDF]
  • Pre-Surgery Eating and Drinking (NPO) Guidelines – Español [PDF]

Family-Centered Care

When you choose pediatric surgical services from Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health, you and your child benefit from family-centered care that makes you a valued member of your child’s multidisciplinary surgery team, involved in all aspects of care from your first introduction through the time you return home.

You can depend on the surgeon and the pediatric surgery team to follow up with you directly, monitor your child’s progress and oversee all aspects of care, large or small, for as long as necessary.

Stay Involved with Your Child’s Care

As a parent or designated caregiver, you’re included in your child’s care and encouraged to provide any portion of it you feel you can manage. While your child stays in the hospital, physicians make formal rounds each morning to meet with you and your child’s care team.

Your child’s nurses complete an assessment every four hours and more often as needed. If permitted by doctor’s orders, your child always has access to snacks or you may request meals delivered to the room.

Child Life Specialists

Helping to make your child’s surgery and hospital experience at Oklahoma Children's Hospital as understandable and close to normal as possible, certified Child Life specialists at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital use developmentally appropriate language and interactive dolls to explain the process and demonstrate what to expect.

Find out more about Child Life programs for your hospitalized child.

Your Children’s Surgery Care Team

In addition to Oklahoma Children's Hospital's board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric surgery specialists and subspecialists, as well as the region’s only fellowship-trained pediatric anesthesiologists, your child’s surgical care team may include professionals from multiple healthcare disciplines who also hold pediatric-specific training.

Depending on your child’s particular situation, your surgery care team may involve pediatric radiologists, emergency specialists, pediatric nurses and a wide range of support services, such as Child Life specialists.

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