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Preparing your child for surgery

Surgery is never fun, but it’s even more intimidating when it involves your child. So how can you prepare your child when they are about to have surgery?  Good preparation can actually help children feel less anxious about the procedure and get through recovery faster.

Danelle Paz is a Nurse Anesthetist at Children’s South.  She says first and foremost it’s important for parents to be honest with their children. “They’re not going to Disney World,” Paz says. “That’s the most important thing, is to help them understand they’re having surgery and to be honest when questions are asked.”

The key is to provide information at your child’s level of understanding, correct any misunderstandings and help eliminate any fears. Help your child understand why surgery is needed.

In terms of preparations, Paz says it’s very important that parents follow instructions given by their doctor. This may involve taking a bath the night before as well as special instructions about when to cease food and drink.

Having the procedure at a pediatric facility like Children’s South ensures that all aspects are catered to the comfort and unique needs of the child.

“When it’s your child, you want your child to be taken care of like it’s their child and that’s what we do here,” Paz says.  “We’re all pediatric trained physicians, nurses and child life specialists and your child and family are truly our focus.”

Special attention is given at a pediatric facility to take a “pain free” approach prior to surgery.  At Children’s no shots are given while the child is awake. Instead, the child is put to sleep with a mask.

After surgery, the doctors will be very attentive to care for the child and give pain medicine as needed.  During recovery, there may be times of discomfort for your child.  Parents should explain that even if this happens they will get better.

Parents can do their part to make recovery more pleasant with a new book, toy, or a visit from a friend or relative.  Just make sure the child gets plenty of rest to recuperate.

Moms and dads can be assured their child will be in good hands with a pediatric staff to care for them and help them through this challenging time.

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