Surgery - How Do I Prepare My Child for Planned Surgery

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

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Pre surgery wash

  • Your child needs to be bathed either the night before or on the day of surgery to reduce the chance of infection.
  • If your child is having surgery on their spine, heart, or head you need to wash their hair the night before or on the day of surgery.
  • Your child must have their hair checked for head lice at least two days before surgery and be treated if necessary. This is to ensure that your child's hair is free from head lice and to prevent head lice spreading.
  • Your child's fingernails and toenails should be clean and free from nail polish. Nail polish may get in the way of the monitors that gently clip onto your finger to keep track of your pulse.

Clean and appropriate clothing for surgery

  • Your child needs to be dressed in clean pyjamas or a hospital gown just before going to surgery. The nurses will advise you when to change your child.
  • If your infant or child wears nappies they should have their nappy changed just before they go for their surgery.
  • All makeup and jewellery including earrings, metal hairclips and hair elastics that contain metal should be removed. It is best to leave your child's jewellery and other valuables at home.

Other important things to remember

  • When your child is having surgery, please bring their favourite teddy or security blanket for added comfort.
  • Please ensure that you bring your child's regular medications and blue book with you on the day of surgery. If your child is on regular medication, please tell the doctor at the time of consultation as some medications need to be stopped before surgery.
  • Your child will need to stop eating and drinking for a few hours before surgery and it is important to follow the fasting times given to you by the doctor/nurse. If your child does eat or drink when they are not meant to, please tell the nurse as soon as possible.
The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
Hunter New England Kids Health

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