Before You and Your Child Arrive at Children's

Weeks Before

There are many things you can do to help prepare yourself and your child for admission for outpatient surgery at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC: 

  • Follow the “under-the-weather” policy. Call the surgeon’s office if your child has a fever or flu-like symptoms the day before surgery. If your child has been exposed to a contagious disease such as chicken pox, measles, mumps, impetigo or lice up to three weeks before the surgery, also call the surgeon’s office.
  • Do not plan any other activities for the day of your child's surgery.


  • Do not allow your child to have any aspirin or ibuprofen for at least two weeks before the surgery. This includes Motrin®, PediaProfen®, Advil®, Bayer® children’s aspirin, Aspergum®, Pepto Bismol® and Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus®. Your child may take acetaminophen (Tylenol®). 
  • Check with your doctor to see whether there are any prescription or non-prescription medications that your child should avoid taking or stop taking temporarily before his or her surgery.

Forms and insurance

  • You will receive two forms in the mail or at the physician’s office: the History and Physical form, and the Consent form. Please remember to bring your completed History and Physical and Consent forms with you on the day of your child's surgery.
  • Check with your insurance carrier to determine if you need written authorization before receiving the scheduled services.To make sure you receive the insurance coverage to which you are entitled, please notify your insurance company or health maintenance organization (HMO) of your child's type and date of surgery before coming to the hospital. If you have questions about insurance requirements, ask your child's primary care physician or call Children's Patient Access staff at 412-692-5310.
  • If blood work was ordered by your child's doctor or surgeon, make sure it is completed. Bring the results with you, or have them to the Same Day Surgery Center via fax. The fax number is 412-692-6180.

Transportation and child care

  • Make sure you have appropriate transportation home from the hospital. Your child should avoid public transportation (bus or trolley) immediately after surgery. Either drive or arrange for a relative or friend to take you and your child home.
  • Please make child care plans for your other children for the day of surgery.
  • Prepare your child for surgery by talking to him or her and allowing your child to ask questions. Read guidelines by age range, and, if you want, take a free Pre-Admission Tour.

The Day Before

  • Your child not receive any vaccines the day prior to surgery.
  • One business day before your child’s procedure, you will receive a call from a surgery nurse between 1 and 9 p.m. The nurse will ask several questions about your child’s medical history, current medications and readiness for the particular procedure. He or she will answer any questions you have and will give you the important instructions you and your child need to follow. Please have paper and pen ready to write down instructions.  
  • The surgery nurse will provide you with instructions for eating and drinking. To ensure your child's safety for anesthesia, it is important to follow these specific times for eating and drinking.
  • If your child takes medications regularly, including herbal or nutritional supplements, please inform the surgery nurse during the pre-procedure phone call.
  • Directions to the surgery center will be given, if you need them.
  • If your child has special needs, please inform the surgery nurse.
  • The surgery nurse will provide you with an arrival time for the day of surgery. Remember: this is your arrival time, not your child's surgery time.
  • If you have questions or concerns about your child's surgery, or if you are not contacted by 9 p.m. the day before your child's surgery, call the Same Day Surgery nurse at 412-692-5242, or after 10 p.m., the Admissions Department at 412-692-5310 for your arrival time.

The Night Before

Please be sure that your child has a bath or shower and his or her hair is washed the night before the procedure.

  • Have your child remove all nail polish and jewelry, including piercings.
  • Discuss the next day’s events with your child in terms that he or she can understand. Be careful to inform, but not alarm.Discuss the next day’s events with your child in terms that he or she can understand. Be careful to inform, but not alarm.
  • Collect everything you need to bring.
  • Follow the eating and drinking instructions provided by the surgery nurse. Your child's surgery may be rescheduled to another day if he or she eats after these times.

Eating and Drinking Instructions


  • Daily medications should be given at their routine times unless you are specifically told not to give medications to your child by the surgeon.


  • If your child is under 12 months of age, he or she should not eat any solid food after midnight. Your infant may have milk or formula 4½ hours prior to your admission time.
  • Breast feeding may occur up to 2½ hours prior to your admission time.
  • Clear liquids such as water, Pedialyte™ and apple juice may be given 1½ hours prior to your admission time.
  • Please let the surgery nurse know if you add cereal to your child’s formula or milk.

Patients 12 Months and Older

  • Absolutely no food, gum, candy or milk products after midnight prior to surgery.
  • Your child may have clear liquids—water, apple juice, Pedialyte™ or Gatorade™—1½ hours prior to your admission time.
  • Please let the surgery nurse know if you add cereal and/or “Thick It” to your child’s liquids.

Your child’s surgery may be rescheduled for another day if he or she eats or drinks after these times.