When your child’s surgery is complete, the surgeon will call or come and talk to you. Your child will be taken to the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit). This is often called the recovery area. The initial stage of waking up takes place here while the nurses monitor your child’s recovery the entire time. As your child begins to wake up, the nurse will call you to be with your child.
Only two visitors are allowed in the recovery room, usually parents, caregivers or grandparents. Siblings are not allowed in the recovery area.
Remember, each child reacts differently to anesthesia (medicine to help them sleep). Some children wake up crying, restless, and angry. Others wake up very sleepy. All of these are normal. Talk to your child in a soft, calm voice and let him or her know you are there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Depending upon the type of surgery your child has - and the doctor's instructions - once the child is awake and able to drink fluids without vomiting, he or she will be discharged.
If your child is staying in the hospital, a room will be assigned. You will accompany your child to this room and are encouraged to stay with your child if at all possible. If your child is going home, you may be released from the recovery area or go to the discharge area. Instructions will be provided for your child’s at-home care.
- The child should not walk alone until he or she is stable on his or her feet.
- While in the car young children need to be restrained in a car safety seat and older children need to be restrained with a seat belt. Parents with infants should sit in the back seat with their child.
- Two people should be available to assist older children into the house.
- The child should be under your direct supervision for the rest of the day.
- When your child is asleep you should easily be able to wake him or her up -- if not call 9-1-1 or bring to the hospital immediately.
- Young children (infants and toddlers) should play only on carpeted floors. Block stairs and doorways with safety gates.
- Pad the corners of sharp tables. Remove wheeled toys or chairs. Older children (preschoolers to adolescents) should rest in an area where an adult can watch them.
- Escort the child when walking, including trips to the bathroom.
- The child should not perform any potentially dangerous activities such as riding a bike, swimming, driving, playing sports, playing outside, handling sharp objects, working with tools or climbing stairs until he or she is back to his or her usual state of alertness and coordination for at least one day or under doctors orders.