Families and Visitors

Preparing Your Child for Surgery

If your child has been scheduled for surgery, we want you to understand the process, and we also want your child to be as prepared for the experience as possible. We want to share with you what pediatric health care professionals have learned over the years on what you can do to prepare your child for surgery. This will also help you better understand many of the natural concerns all parents experience. You will learn about what part of surgery may be most stressful for your child, the various ways to prepare your child and his or her siblings for the upcoming surgery, and the possible emotional reactions your child may express.

We offer in-person tours to make it easier for you and for your child.

On-Site Hospital Tour

If your child is three years or older, Child Life specialists recommend that you and your child come to the Hospital for a special tour. You may attend without your child if he or she is younger than three. Our pre-operative tour will help you and your child prepare for surgery and see and learn all about our Hospital.

The tour starts with "medical play" during which a Child Life specialist will encourage the children to see and play with some of the medical equipment they will experience, such as an oxygen mask or surgical mask. They will role play with this equipment, using dolls as "patients."

Next, the children and parents are taken on a tour of the Hospital. Each step of the process will be explained in an age-appropriate manner for the young visitors. Although the children do not visit an operating room, they will visit the recovery room. They get to meet staff and familiarize themselves with virtually every area they will see from the moment they arrive on the day of their hospitalization.

Both you and your child will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the tour. Teenagers are also encouraged to take a pre-operative tour, which will be geared to their age group.

Appointments for these tours are required. To arrange a special pre-operative tour, please call (212) 746-9970. Once you have registered, you will be sent a letter reminding you when and where to meet for the tour, a parking valet voucher (valet parking is available in front of the Hospital), and a bibliography of books that are appropriate for your child's age group and the kind of surgery he or she will be having.