Easing your child's fears about surgery
It is important that your child feels as comfortable as possible on the day of surgery. Children's Health℠ has prepared some information to help ease your child's fears as well as items that you can bring with you from home.
Talk to your child
Prepare your child and yourself for what will happen at the hospital. This can help make your child’s surgery day as comfortable as possible. Things you can do to help include:
- Recognize your child’s fears and concerns.
- Describe what your child may see, feel, taste and hear.
- Be honest and explain in a language your child can understand.
- Point out that this is temporary and not a punishment for bad behavior.
To help give your child undivided attention during the visit to the hospital, we recommend that you make arrangements for siblings younger than 12 to stay with family or friends.
Child Life Specialists help patients cope with being in the hospital. They are available to talk with your child about what to expect during surgery. Children ages 3 and older may benefit most from this experience.
If you would like to talk to a Child Life Specialist, please call:
You may also request to see a Child Life Specialist on the day of your child’s surgery.
Making your child comfortable
To make your child comfortable, we recommend you bring the items listed below with you.
- Loose-fitting shirts, snap tops or button-down shirts are recommended for surgery above the waist. For surgeries below the waist, your child should wear loose-fitting or elastic-waist pants or shorts. Please be sure to label all items with your child’s name.
- For infants, bring a small supply of diapers and bottles.
- Pack a favorite stuffed animal, toy or book to comfort your child.
- Bring a bathrobe or sweater and socks or slippers.
- Pack a sweater or light jacket for you because the hospital is well air conditioned.
- Bathe your child and shampoo their hair the night before surgery.
- Leave your child’s jewelry, valuables and contact lenses at home.