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Visiting SickKids

Day of surgery

This page will help you and your child to understand what will happen on the day of surgery:

Advice for parents (before arrival)

Today is a big day.  Many parents will not eat because their child is not allowed to eat, which often leads to episodes of feeling dizzy, weak, fainting, and being unable to care for your child properly.  Please make sure you eat something to keep up your strength.  It is best to eat something that does not have a strong aroma and to eat away from your child’s sight so they are not reminded of not being able to eat.


Arrival at the hospital (registration)

Plan to be at the hospital at least 2 hours before your child’s surgery. You will go to the Pre-Operative Surgery Registration Desk on the main floor (near the Information Desk) where they will check you in and direct you to your next step.


Your child’s pre-operative nursing assessment/screening (Registered Nurse, RN)

Next your child will go to be weighed, have a nurse check their vital signs, assess their current level of health and review their chart.  The nurse will give you instructions about how to preform a pre-operative bath and provide the necessary supplies, including a special pair of pajamas and slippers to wear in surgery.  Once your child has changed into them, they may return to the playroom until it is their time to go for surgery.

Watch our video on how to preform a pre-operative bath.

Pre-Operative Playroom/Waiting Room assessment (anesthesiologist and operating room, RN)

Your child's anesthesiologist will come and meet with you in the playroom before your child goes to surgery.  They will talk to you about the options available to help your child relax before going in to the operating room, fall asleep for the procedure, and ways to manage their pain during and after their surgery.  Someone from the surgical team will come out to speak with the family.  A nurse will also come out to do their pre-operative assessment, which includes a nursing and surgical safety checklist.  The surgeon may be available to see you before surgery. Child life specialists are also available to patients and families. To learn more about Child Life and their services, please visit Child Life.


While your child is in surgery (Surgical Waiting Room)

After your child goes in for surgery, you will be directed to the Surgical Waiting Room, on the second floor, right beside the operating room playroom. You can wait here while your child is in the operation; this is a good time to have a snack and something to drink to ensure you have energy to look after your child when they wake up. It is best to check in with the volunteers when you get there so they can notify you when your child is ready to see you after the surgery. The surgical waiting room is also where the surgeon will come to meet you after the procedure. It is a good idea to have paper and a pen available to make notes on what the doctor says and their recommendations for caring for your child after the procedure


Your child's recovery in PACU (Post Anesthetic Care Unit)

Learn more about PACU at AboutKidsHealth.ca:

This is a review of the instructions provided to parents who are taking a child home after a general anesthetic:


Our visiting policy

For more information on visiting a patient at SickKids after the surgery, please see Visiting a patient