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How and when should I prepare my child for anesthesia and surgery?
Be honest with your child about where he or she is going. Do not lie to your child.
Reassure your child that he or she will be asleep during surgery and will wake up after surgery.
Reassure your child that a family member will be with him when he wakes up after surgery.
Younger children (about 8 years and under) should have things explained in terms that he will understand. For example, you might tell your four-year old that he will have an operation to "fix his tummy" or to "make his tummy better" and that he will be asleep when he has his operation. It may also help to have your younger child pick one item, such as a favorite toy, blanket or stuffed animal to bring to the hospital for security.
Older children and teenagers (about 9 years and older) should be given as much detail and information as you think they can handle. Try to encourage your child to ask questions. Help your child to think of ways to make waiting for surgery easier, such as bringing a book to read or music to listen to through headphones.
When should I prepare my child?
You can begin to prepare your younger child a week or so before surgery by giving information about what will happen. If your child is 3 years or under, or very anxious, you might wait until the week of surgery or just a few days before surgery to start talking about it.
Older children and teenagers can usually be prepared in advance of surgery at about the same time that you prepare. However, if he is very anxious or has a developmental delay, you might wait until the week of surgery to talk to your child in more detail.
These age ranges and guidelines are suggestions. All children are different. You know your child best and you should use your judgment about how and when to prepare your child.
This will vary by the age of your child, but in general, children cannot eat and drink after a certain time prior to their surgery. If you do not follow these fasting instructions and your child receives anesthesia, serious complications can occur, including death. It is extremely important that you follow the fasting schedule that has been discussed with you.
|Child's Age||Food||Formula||Water, Pedialyte, Apple Juice|
|0 - 6 Months||Stop at midnight||Stop six hours prior to the surgery or procedure time||Stop four hours prior to surgery or procedure time|
|7 - 12 Months||Stop at midnight||Stop eight hours prior to the surgery or procedure time||Stop four hours prior to surgery or procedure time|
|1 year and older||Stop at midnight||Not applicable||Stop four hours prior to surgery or procedure time|
After registering, you will have a meeting with anesthesia staff to discuss your child’s current health and medical history before anesthesia can be administered. You may also ask questions and/or let staff know about any worries or concerns that you or your child have.
Going to the Operating Room
There are three major ways that your child may have anesthesia started (called "induction"):
Your child’s anesthesiologist will decide the best method of anesthesia induction for your child.
What can I do to help make my child’s surgery go smoothly and safely?
Written educational materials are available from the Ambulatory Surgery Center. Please call 501-364-1336 if you would like to request that either of the following pamphlets be sent to you.
Before you go home, we will give you surgery discharge teaching information. This may include several pieces of paper. Please let your nurse know if you need a school or work excuse note.
We will explain:
“Teach Back” is a special way of teaching our patients and families to ensure that we are teaching the information in a way that makes sense to you.