The day before surgery

When to stop eating and drinking

For your child’s safety, he/she must not eat or drink for a certain amount of time before surgery. If your child does not follow the guidelines listed in the chart below, the surgery may be delayed or canceled.

If your child is taking medicine, ask your doctor if it should be taken the day of surgery.

When your child must stop eating and drinking before surgery:
8 Hours Before Surgery 6 Hours Before Surgery 4 Hours Before Surgery 3 Hours Before Surgery
Stop all solid foods, candy, gum and any liquids that you cannot see through

OK to drink clear liquids (those you can see through) which include clear juice, broth, lemon-lime soda, Pedialyte®, ice and gelatin
Stop all formula Stop breast milk Stop all clear liquids

Do not allow the child to chew gum or suck on hard candy


Give your child a bath and wash his/her hair the day before surgery. Doing so helps prevent infections after surgery. If you were given any special bathing instructions from your surgeon, be sure to follow them.