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Before Your Child’s Surgery

We know this can be a stressful time for your family and we want to help make this day go as smoothly as possible. Please read these instructions to help prepare for what to expect.

Before Surgery

  • The nurse will call you prior to the day of surgery to review arrival time, your child’s height and weight, their medical history, and eating/drinking guidelines. It is very important to follow the rules for nothing to eat/drink. We cannot give anesthesia to a child who has had anything to eat/drink due to safety concerns.
  • Please call Same Day Surgery if your child is showing any signs of a fever or illness prior to arrival (860-442-0711 ext.2282).

Day of Surgery

  • What to bring:
    • Parent’s photo ID, insurance card
    • Child’s comfort item/favorite toy
    • Device (tablet, phone, etc.) for communication or distraction
    • Extra set of underwear/comfortable clothing
    • Diapers/pull-ups (if needed)
  • Please enter the hospital at the Same Day Surgery entrance, located to the left of ED entrance.
  • When you arrive at the hospital, you will register and then be taken to a pre-op room where your child will get ready for surgery.
  • The nurse will take your child’s vital signs including temperature, breathing, blood pressure and oxygen level. Your child will change into hospital pajamas.
  • It is our policy that all girls 10 years of age and older have a urine test before surgery.
  • The surgeon, operating room nurse, anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist will stop by the room to meet you and discuss the plan of care. Please ask any questions you may have.
  • Some children need liquid medication (syrup) to help calm and relax them before going to the operating room (OR). Please read the section Pre-Op Medication.
  • One parent may (if they choose) go to the OR for anesthesia induction and help their child as they fall asleep. Please read the section How you can Help.
  • Once your child is asleep, we will walk you back to the pre-op room and then take you to the waiting room.


  • Most children fall asleep by breathing in anesthesia through a mask. Many children will decide they don’t want to do this and may cry. We will continue to hold the mask on and help them fall asleep. You may notice some body movements as they fall asleep, which is quite common during this phase of falling asleep. Please know this is normal and we expect this during the process. Children usually fall asleep in minutes. An IV (intravenous) will be placed after they are asleep to give medications and fluids.
  • Older children will receive anesthesia through an IV to fall asleep.
  • Children will sleep throughout the procedure and will wake with no memory of what happened.

After Surgery

  • Your child’s surgeon will speak with you in the waiting room once the surgery is finished.
  • The anesthesia team will move your child from the OR to Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Hopefully, your child will sleep for a while as the longer they sleep, the more the anesthesia wears off and the more oriented they are when they awaken. It could be 45 mins-1 hr. until your child awakens.
  • A PACU nurse will be with your child during the recovery process.
  • Parents will be called into the PACU as your child is waking from the anesthesia. Please know this is a medicated state and the anesthesia needs to wear off. Your child may feel very unhappy as they are attempting to wake up. You can help by providing quiet reassurance and encouraging them to try and sleep. Let them know you will be right beside them.
  • Your child will have an IV that was placed during surgery (if they didn’t have one before going into the OR).
  • Please remain at your child’s bedside while you are in the PACU. There are other patients in the PACU, and we ask that you respect their privacy.
  • Once your child is able, they may have something to eat/drink. Popsicles are always a favorite.
  • Your nurse will be sure that your child is ready before discharging you home. Discharge instructions will be reviewed with you. It is recommended that you go right home after surgery and allow your child to rest and recover.
  • Each child’s recovery time depends on type and amount of anesthesia received, as well as the length of the procedure. Typical recovery times are generally one hour.

How You Can Help

  • Encourage your child to talk about coming to the hospital. Listen and encourage their questions and answer them honestly.
  • You will provide the most helpful, emotionally supportive care to your child. Please stay calm and positive as your child will notice what you are feeling.
  • Reassure your child that everyone at the hospital is going to take great care of them.
  • One parent may accompany their child to the OR. Please know that you do not have to accompany your child. If your child has been given the pre-op syrup or is very young or you are uncomfortable accompanying them; please be assured, we will take great care of them for you. If you do wish to go to the OR, we ask that the parent/guardian who will be the most emotionally supportive be the one to come with your child. It is helpful if parents decide who will accompany their child before they come to the hospital. We will give that parent OR apparel consisting of a jumpsuit, hair cover, mask, and shoe covers.
  • We ask that you help us make your child feel comfortable and safe while they are in the OR. Talk with them in a reassuring tone of voice, hold their hand, let them know all is well.
  • The OR is kept cold to discourage germs so there are warm blankets available for your child.
  • When your child is being sedated, they will have heart monitors, a pulse oximeter and a blood pressure cuff placed for their safety. The nurse anesthetist will place the mask over your child’s nose and mouth. As will be discussed with you the morning of surgery, there is an excitement phase that children typically go through before they are asleep. Expect to see some fidgety movements as this is a normal part of this process.
  • Once your child is asleep, you may give your child a kiss before leaving the room. You will be taken back to the pre-op room where you can remove the OR clothes. You will then be taken to the waiting room. Please let us know if you have any questions or if you need anything.

Pre-op Medication (Syrup)

  • You know your child better than anybody and know how your child responds in a medical setting. We appreciate your thoughts on how to best help your child with the operating room experience. The anesthesiologist (along with the nurse and Child Life specialist) will also discuss the best course of action based on observation and discussion with you.
  • Children who are very anxious, those who refuse to cooperate and children with special health care needs may need the syrup to help cope with the hospital experience.
  • The syrup is used to relax patients before going into the OR and help them to be more cooperative during the “going to sleep” process.
  • Children can drink the syrup, or you can choose to have it squirt into their mouth.
  • The syrup typically begins to work in 15 minutes, and your child will show signs of it working. The syrup may make your child feel drowsy, silly and will relax their muscles so holding them on your lap or having them sit on the bed is recommended.
  • The syrup will affect their short-term memory so they will have little, if any, memory of going into the OR.