Watch the "Welcome to Procedures" video using the link below to help prepare for your visit.
The video is available: Procedures Department tour
Preoperative Fasting: Why shouldn't your child eat or drink before their anesthetic?
When your child receives an anesthetic it is very important that their stomach is empty. This is so that they don't vomit and choke when the anesthetic is starting. If there is food in their stomach before your child's anesthetic, the food could make its way into your child's lungs while they are under anesthetic, and your child could get pneumonia.
This is why we need your child's stomach to be as empty as possible before their anesthetic – so that your child is safe. We understand that a hungry child is an upset and frustrated child, we know that is really hard for a parent to let their child be hungry – no parent wants their child to feel hungry. However, we need your help to ensure that your child is as safe as possible while they are getting their anesthetic. .
As a reminder, here are the guidelines we need you to follow before your child's anesthetic:
Your child may eat or drink anything they want until 6 hours before your arrival at BC Children's Hospital.
If your child drinks breast milk they may have plain breast milk until 4 hours before your arrival at BC Children's Hospital.
Your child may have clear fluids, which are fluids you can see clearly through (e.g. water or clear apple juice) until 1 hour before your arrival. After that, nothing to eat or drink please!
If you have any questions or concerns about these instructions, please call our Anesthetic Care Unit nurses at 604-875-2191. We look forwards to seeing you soon, and thank you for your help with this very important safety matter!
The Procedure room
Be sure to read "Your Child's Surgery or Procedure" booklet to help you prepare for your visit.
Hearing that your child needs surgery can be stressful for the whole family. We cannot remove all the anxiety, but the goal of the health care team is to make the experience as easy as possible. We believe that you know your child best. We will try to support your efforts to calm your child’s fears and help him or her to grow stronger from the experience.
Preparing your child for Procedure
Find out as much as you can about the procedure. If you know what to expect, you will be able to better help your child.
- Be honest
Be honest with your child about what will happen. Children can tell when you are not being truthful.
- Talk to your child
Tell your child why the procedure is necessary. For example, “The doctor knows a way to stop the earaches. She is going to put little tubes in your ears. We won’t be able to see them, but they will help you hear better and take the ache out of your ears."
- Find out what your child already knows
Ask your child to tell you what he or she knows or fears. "What is an operation?" "Do you know how they do it?" Sometimes playing with dolls, medical toys and masks or drawing pictures is easier for children than explaining.
- Have a discussion with your child
Discuss with your child what the hard parts of the procedure may be. Will it be climbing onto the bed? Will it be the instant of the needle poke? Plan some way of getting over this time.
These plans work best if you go over them a few times before the day. Children younger than four years old do better with a shorter preparation. Use a calm, soothing voice to reassure your child.
If you would like more specific advice on preparing your child for surgery, please contact the Child Life Department. The Child Life staff can give you specific advice on how to best prepare your child for surgery.