Preparing the Skin before Surgery 

A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs in the area where an operation has been performed. There are some things that you can do to decrease the risk of your child developing a surgical site infection, such as reducing the bacteria (“germs”) on your child’s skin. You have been given some special disposable cloths moistened with 2% Chlorhexidine Gluconate (CHG) antiseptic solution to help prepare your child’s skin for surgery.


  • Please read and follow these instructions for bathing and skin care the night before your child’s surgery.
  • You might need a second adult to help you with this process.
  • Have clean, freshly laundered, bed sheets, towels, and pajamas ready for use the evening prior to surgery.
  • Do not shave any part of your child’s body the day before or the day of surgery.
  • If you would like to warm wipes prior to use, please place closed packet in a bowl of warm water at bathwater temperature. Do not microwave. 


  • The night before surgery, shower or bathe your child with soap & warm water, and wash his or her hair.
  • Dry your child with a clean towel
  • Wait at least one hour and let your child completely dry before applying the wipes.
  • Open the package: Using clean scissors, cut off the end seal of the package and discard the foam piece.  
  • For each package, remove two cloths at a time, and place onto a clean surface
  • Wipe your child’s skin as shown in the diagrams on the back side of this sheet. Use one wipe for each area of your skin as indicated by the numbers on the diagram.
  • Avoid contact with eyes, ears, mouth, internal genitalia, and any cuts or open areas of the skin.

After Care:

  • Discard wipes in trash can.
  • After using the wipes, let skin air dry. Your child’s skin will feel sticky until dry.
  • Do not rinse CHG off the skin prior to surgery.
  • Have your child put on clean pajamas and sleep in clean sheets.
  • After applying CHG wipes, do not shower, bathe, or apply lotions, moisturizers, or other personal care products.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, please contact the Department of Perioperative Services at (650) 736-7359.

Thank you for your work to help us prevent Surgical Site Infections!

For children less than 22 pounds (<10kg)

baby bathing instructions before surgery

For children between 22 and 66 pounds (10k-30g)

small child bathing instructions before surgery

For children more than 66 pounds (<30kg)

larger child bathing instructions before surgery