Preparing for Your Child's Visit

In an effort to help make the hospital stay easier for both the child and family, YNHCH offers children pre-surgical preparation classes that include a tour of the pediatric surgery center, and a pre-anesthesia visit to those who need one. As a patient and family centered care facility, we welcome parents as equal members of our team. Please tell us if there is anything special you want us to know. Feel free to ask questions and voice concerns. By working together, we can help provide the quality of care you and your child deserve. Prior to the procedure, you will be contacted by our office to schedule any necessary visits and by the business office to gather insurance and contact information. One business day before your procedure, you will also receive an automated call reminding you of your scheduled arrival time.

Scheduling a pre-anesthesia visit

If your child requires a pre-anesthesia visit, someone from our office will contact you to schedule a visit within 30 days of your child's procedure. Pre-anesthesia visits are held Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 12:30 pm - 4 pm. Your child's appointment will take approximately one hour. Please bring any of your child's prescription medications with you. If you are not scheduled for this visit and you feel your child would benefit from attending, you may schedule one by calling 203-688-5576.

What to expect during your pre-anesthesia visit

  • When you enter the Children's Hospital (West Pavilion) at 1 Park Street, you should take the West Pavilion elevators to the Pediatric Specialty Center located on the second floor of the Children's Hospital.
  • You will speak with a pediatric nurse practitioner, who will perform a preoperative assessment. This includes asking about your child's medical history, medications and allergies. Your child's blood pressure and heart rate will also be checked and this information will be shared with the anesthesia team assigned to your child's surgery.
  • Your child will also see a child life specialist.

Child Life Pre-Surgical Preparation Class

The Child Life Pre-Surgical Preparation Class is a free, fun, interactive class for parents and their children ages 4 to 12 years, who are having surgery at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. A certified child life specialist helps children and families understand what to expect before, during and after surgery through hands-on medical play, educational games and a tour of the operating room and recovery room.

The 45-minute class meets on Monday and Thursday afternoons. Reservations are required. For more information, please call Pediatric Pre-Anesthesia at 203-688-5576. 

A Parent's Role in Preparation

Before your child has a procedure, ask the doctor or nurse about what will happen, so you can prepare your child for unfamiliar sights or sounds. If you have other children, try to explain what will be happening. Hospitalization affects the whole family, so be prepared for concern on the part of siblings. Siblings should not come to the hospital on the day of surgery.

Parents should also:

  • Encourage your child to express feelings, fears and fantasies.
  • Let your child know it is okay to cry.
  • Listen to your child's questions and answer the questions honestly.
  • Read to your child about his or her surgical procedure. Our Child Life staff have compiled a list of books that may be helpful.
  • Pack familiar books, toys and clothes for your child to bring to the hospital.
  • Visit the hospital ahead of time through a scheduled presurgical preparation class.

Guidelines for eating and drinking before surgery

  • Do not give your child any solid food after midnight the night before surgery.
  • Give the last bottle of formula (or tube feeding) so that it is finished 6 hours before the time of arrival.
  • Plan the last breastfeeding so that it is finished 4 hours before arrival time.
  • You may give these clear liquids up until 2 hours before arrival time; apple juice, water or unflavored Pedialyte. 
  • Your child cannot take anything by mouth, not even water, for two hours before scheduled arrival time.

The day of your child's surgery

On the day of surgery, you should come to the main entrance of Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital located at 1 Park Street and go to the admitting office on the first floor. An admitting associate will greet you, give you an identification bracelet and direct you to the Pediatric Surgery Center on the third floor of the Children's Hospital. The Children's Hospital admitting office is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Valet parking is available for pediatric surgery patients and is free on the day of surgery. There is a charge all other times. Please call the parking office at 203-688-2623 for the most current rate information.

  • Please be sure a parent or legal guardian accompanies your child at all times.
  • Two adults should be present to accompany your child home.
  • Plan to have an adult caregiver at home to stay with your child during the day and night after surgery.
  • If possible, please make arrangements for siblings and other children to remain at home so you will be available for your child undergoing surgery. Please note that siblings may not be able to go in all areas of the hospital due to age, safety and restrictions.

Please bring

  • Results of blood work if done at an outside lab
  • Insurance information, identification and legal guardianship, if necessary
  • A list of your child's medications or photos of the labels on the bottles
  • Copy of court papers designating legal guardianship, if necessary
  • Favorite toy or DVD, stuffed animal, pacifier, bottle or sippy cup, blanket and/or other comfort item

Please do not bring other children

You will be with your child at all times before surgery. Once your child is administered anesthesia, you will stay in the waiting room and be notified when the surgery is over. You will be reunited with your child once he or she is in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Your child will be in the PACU until he or she is either discharged home or admitted to a pediatric unit.

For questions or concerns related to anesthesia, or to speak with one of our health experts, please call 203-688-5576.