Important Safety Instructions to Follow


Stop Food and Drink Before Your Child’s Procedure or Surgery

Your child must stop eating and drinking before undergoing anesthesia for a procedure or surgery. There are life threatening safety risks of undergoing anesthesia with food and drink in the stomach. It is critical for your child’s stomach to be empty before the procedure or surgery.

You will be given instructions about stopping your child’s food and drink before the procedure or surgery.  This time of no eating and drinking is called “NPO.” The amount of time your child needs to stop eating and drinking before anesthesia depends on his/her age. These instructions are for your child’s safety during the procedure or surgery.  

The Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC) will go over these instructions with you.  Please ask any questions you have about following these important safety instructions. On the night before the procedure or surgery, follow the instructions from PARC exactly.

Generally the NPO (no eating or drinking) instructions are listed below.  To keep your child as safe as possible, if these guidelines are not followed, your child’s procedure or surgery may be delayed or cancelled.  A small number of children will receive special guidelines that differ from these.  Follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider.

  1. Stop food and candy at midnight.
  2. Stop formula and milk 6 hours before the procedure.
  3. Stop breast milk 4 hours before the procedure. 
  4. Stop all clear liquids 3 hours before the procedure.

    Clear liquids include only water, clear apple juice (no pulp, no apple cider), pedialyte, and Gatorade.


Bathe or Shower Before the Procedure or Surgery

To help lower the risk of your child getting an infection during the procedure or surgery, your child will need to bathe or shower the night before unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider.

  • For babies and children younger than 12 months of age:
    Use a regular baby soap that you would normally use on your child.
  • For children older than 12 months of age:
    Use any regular antibacterial soap the night before. 

If you were given CHG wipes at your surgical clinic appointment, use these after bathing as directed.

PARC can answer any questions you have about bathing before the procedure or surgery.


Ask About Giving Medicine Before the Procedure or Surgery

If your child is currently taking medicine, ask for instructions from the PARC anesthesia provider.  Find out if your child should continue the regular medicines before the procedure or surgery.  Also ask about whether or not your child may have over-the-counter medicines before the procedure or surgery. Follow the instructions from PARC exactly.


Let Us Know Any Signs of Illness Before the Procedure or Surgery

If your child is feeling sick (for example, fever, cough, rash, diarrhea, etc.) before the procedure or surgery, please call the Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC) at (650) 736-7359 from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday.  Call the operating room front desk at (650) 721-2820 from 5pm to 9am and on weekends.

If parents have signs of illness before your child’s procedure or surgery, please arrange for another legal guardian to bring your child to the hospital. Call the Pediatric Anesthesia Resource Center (PARC) at (650) 736-7359 from 9am to 5pm or the operating room front desk at (650) 721-2820 from 5pm to 9am if you need assistance. 

To protect our patients from infection, parents, visitors, and staff with illness or exposure to contagious diseases are not permitted into the hospital.