two children smiling
Visiting SickKids

Preparing for surgery

Two children are playing doctor with a stuffed rabbit.

Preparing before the surgery will help to ensure things run smoothly on the day of your child’s procedure.  Below, we have made a checklist to help you make sure you and your child are ready.

Check your child’s health

It is important that your child is not suffering from any other illnesses that will make it harder for him or her to recover from their surgery.  A cold, cough, runny nose, or sore throat can become much worse after an anesthetic, or make it harder for your child to breathe during or after the procedure.

If your child develops any of these above listed symptoms, or has nausea/vomiting or diarrhea, first call your surgeon's office and if necessary, please call us at 416-813-5088.  We will advise you on whether or not you should still bring your child to the hospital to see the doctor. They will decide if it's safe for your child to proceed with the surgery, procedure or test.

Does your child have any of the health issues listed below?

 

Plan your route

View weather reports for the following day and plan your time accordingly.  Print out a map with alternate routes to the hospital if necessary.  For instructions to SickKids by car or public transit, please visit Getting to SickKids.  For places to park around the hospital, please see Parking Instructions.

For  those staying overnight and looking for places to stay close to SickKids, please visit Nearby accommodations.

 

Gather your child’s medical supplies to bring with you

Bring all medications and herbal remedies that your child is currently taking.  Also, bring your child’s Ontario health card, SickKids hospital card and all pre-operative forms; these forms may include:

  • Parent Pre-Operative Questionnaire
  • Pre-Operative Medical Record (physical exam and history to be completed by your family doctor or paediatrician)
  • Medication History Record (list of medications)

These forms are generally given to you, or mailed to your house by the time the surgery has been determined.  Please ensure they are filled out as requested. Lastly, please bring any medical supplies that your child requires on a daily basis (i.e. feeding tube attachments).

Also, please read the following information to ensure your child's surgery goes as planned:Smiling girl on crutches

 

Confirm alternative arrangements for other children

We do not recommend bringing any other children to the hospital with you on the day of surgery.  If possible, we recommend alternative arrangements for siblings.  Siblings are not permitted to visit patients in the recovery room, nor the intensive care unit, or some other areas of the hospital where patients require very specific care. 

To learn about visiting a patient after their surgery, please see Visiting a patient.

Pack a bag for you and your child

Whether your child is staying overnight or just for the day will determine what you pack for your stay at SickKids.

Day surgery (going home the day of)

This means your child will not be admitted to the Hospital overnight.  If your doctor has told you that your child will be coming for a day procedure, we suggest the following:

  • A loose-fitting, comfortable outfit that will fit over any applications (such as a cast) that your child may have after the surgery.  Also, make sure it's easy to put on and won’t rub against the area of their surgery.
  • A security object that your child may want to bring into the surgery with them. We suggest limiting this to one or two items (stuffed animal, blanket, favourite toy, etc)
  • An empty bottle or sippy-cup for your child to drink clear fluids from after the surgery (for younger children)
  • A plastic bag or small plastic container that you can use if your child feels sick on the way home
  • A pen and paper to write down the surgeon’s recommendations for care of your child at home
  • A book, magazine, crossword, or other material for  yourself during your child’s surgery
  • It is important to remember to eat throughout the day. Feeling weak or lightheaded will interfere with your ability to care for your child.

Same day admit (staying overnight and/or for more than one day after surgery)

This means your child will be admitted to the Hospital overnight on the same day of their surgery. They will go to a unit after their surgery and stay overnight. Your child will be provided with pajamas, slippers, a pillow and bed linens. One parent will also be provided with a pillow and blankets. We do suggest the following items from home:

  • A security object that your child may want to bring in to the surgery with them, we suggest limiting this one or two items (stuffed animal, blanket, favourite toy, etc)
  • Toiletries, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, and hairbrush for both you and your child
  • An extra pair of pajamas for your child to wear a day or so after the surgery. If they will be staying more than one night, children sometimes feel less anxious wearing their own clothing
  • Reading material or favourite low-key entertainment options (card games, board games) for your child to do while recovering on the unit
  • A loose-fitting, comfortable outfit that will fit over any applications (such as a cast) that your child may have after the surgery.  Also, make sure it is easy to put on and won’t rub near the area of their surgery
  • An empty bottle or sippy-cup for your child to drink clear fluids from after the surgery  (for younger children)
  • Phone numbers of family members or friends whom you would like to contact
  • A book, magazine, crossword, or other material to occupy yourself during your child’s surgery 
  • A snack to eat throughout the day. Feeling weak or lightheaded will interfere with your ability to care for your child. A microwave and fridge are available for use on the unit.

NOTE: please do NOT bring electronics, or anything valuable with you. Please check with individual units regarding the use of mp3 players, laptops, cell phones, etc.