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Preparing Your Child for Surgery

Surgery can be stressful for children and because they will be in unfamiliar surroundings, we want you to know what to expect and how to help your child feel less anxious about the surgery experience.

Most pediatric procedures are performed in the mornings, starting at 7 a.m. until about noon. Parents or guardians should plan on three to four hours for their Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) stay.

Unlike family or friends of our adult patients, you will need to stay at the ASC for the entire time your child is here. You can briefly go to a different floor for coffee or a snack, but you are not permitted to leave the Kelsey-Seybold campus. If your child’s condition were to change, we would need to contact you immediately.

Another important reason to remain in our waiting room is that the physician will come out to speak with the family once the procedure is over.

Please make arrangements for any other children to stay with family, friends or other caregivers you trust for the day of your child’s surgery, so you can remain focused on your child’s procedure.

Note that no siblings are allowed to go beyond the waiting room for two reasons:

  1. To protect them and patients from contracting contagious illnesses such as the flu.
  2. Because of limited space, we can only allow one to two visitors at a time in the ASC. If both parents come on the day of surgery, one can remain with siblings in the waiting room while the other is with the patient in the pre-op or post-op areas. Children should never be left unattended in the waiting room or anywhere else on the Kelsey-Seybold campus.

We perform a variety of outpatient pediatric surgeries on children from 6 months of age through the teen years. Most procedures require that children be put to sleep for their safety.


  • Ear, nose and throat procedures, such as placing ear tubes for patients who have chronic ear infections
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Adenoidectomy
  • Foreign body removal (if a child swallows something)
  • Resetting fractures and casting
  • Lesion removal from the eye

Tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies require two to three hours of recovery time. A one-hour recovery is required for all general anesthesia. Parents are encouraged to tell their children age-appropriate information about their upcoming procedure and calm any fears.

For babies still on a bottle, please bring an empty bottle, or for toddlers please bring an empty sippy cup. After they recover, nurses can give them some juice in something from which they are familiar drinking.

It is also a good idea to bring a favorite blanket, toy, pacifier or stuffed animal – whatever is comforting and familiar to them – that they can take into the operating room or procedure area.


  • Extra diapers
  • Wipes
  • Another set of clothing, in case the child becomes sick and soils their clothes
  • Formula, or favorite juices for the children after surgery

A nurse will call three days before the procedure and go over specific instructions with you, as well as obtain your child’s health history over the phone. Some important instructions will include not giving your child anything to eat or drink after midnight, prior to the procedure.

The pre-op nurse will also tell you what time you need to arrive at the Ambulatory Surgery Center on your day of service.

On the day of surgery, nurses and other Ambulatory Surgery Center staff help make children comfortable in a number of ways.


  • The anesthesiologist will visit with your child before surgery. Your child will get to choose a flavor of scent they’d like sprayed on the anesthesia mask so that it smells good to them.
  • Nurses continually reassure them to help them not to be afraid.
  • Children are given coloring books, stickers and other things with which to play.
  • Babies are carried to the procedural area by nurses. Small children can drive little cars, such as the two featured here, to the operating room.

Parents and guardians are allowed to accompany their child to the pre-op area so you can sit with them until our nurses move your child to the procedural area. You are not permitted to go to the operating room with your child.

Rest assured that at no time will your child be left alone. They’ll be taken care of by our highly qualified nurses who are certified in Pediatric Advance Life Support (PALS) and in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).

During surgery, parents and guardians must remain in the waiting area.

For your comfort, we provide:

At Main Campus and North Houston Campus

  • Free Internet access and Wi-Fi for those who have a laptop computer or iPad.
  • Magazines
  • Vending machines
  • TVs in the waiting room

At Main Campus

  • Luby’s Cafeteria
  • Starbucks kiosk

See a complete list of amenities.

Liaison rounds through the waiting room about every one-and-a-half to two hours to answer any questions, and your child’s physician will come out to speak with you once the procedure is over.

After the procedure, your child will be moved to the recovery area. Once your child is calm, their pain is controlled and they’re awake and alert, we’ll rejoin you with them for the rest of their recovery.

When your child is ready to be released, a nurse will review specific discharge instructions from the physician. Included will be emergency contact numbers, signs of infection or complications to look for, what to do if your child experiences high fever or bleeding, and other important information.

If you have any questions about your child’s surgical procedure, we invite you to contact us at 713-442-3370 for both our Main Campus and North Houston Campus locations.

Schedule an appointment with our Contact Center 

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