Post-Operative and Post-Anaesthetic Care: Caring for Your Child At Home

This information explains how to care for your child after a general anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic is a special medicine which kept your child asleep during an operation or procedure.



Clinic information sticker to be placed here



Important information about your child's treatment

Your child's nurse or doctor will fill in the following information:

Your child's name: _________________________________

Date: ___________________________________________

Procedure: _______________________________________

Link to procedures on AboutKidsHealth   Yes   No

Doctor: __________________________________________

Morphine given at: _________________________________

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) given at: _____________________

Acetaminophen may be given again at _________________

(Follow instructions on the bottle)

Ketorolac (Toradol) given at _________________________

No Advil/Motrin/ibuprofen may be given until _____________


(Follow instructions on the bottle)

Gravol given at: ___________________________________

Other: __________________________________________



Caudal/Epidural:  Yes   No

Weight today ________ Kg ________ lbs

Prescription for: ___________________________________

Next follow-up appointment will be with ____________________

Special Instructions:






If you need to take your child back to the hospital or to see a doctor, take this page with you. This information will tell the doctor about your child's operation and treatment.

Activities after the operation

Your child may feel dizzy and unsteady for up to 6 hours after an anaesthetic or sedation. Your child should do quiet activities today, such as watch videos or TV, or listen to music.

Do not let your child do activities that your child needs to have good balance for. For example, do not let your child play hockey or soccer, roller blade, ride a bike, or swim.

Supervise your child's activities today.

Tomorrow your child can go back to his normal activities, unless your doctor told you something different.

Eating and drinking after the operation

Your child needs lots of liquids today. Give your child clear liquids such as water, broth, popsicles, ginger ale that has no fizz in it, or Jell-O (a clear liquid in the form of jelly).

After these liquids or Jell-O, if your child does not have an upset stomach and is not throwing up, your child can start to eat a small meal. A small meal could be soup with toast or crackers.

Do not start with fried foods, such as burgers or fries, or foods made with milk, such as cheese, yogurt, or ice cream. These foods can upset your child’s stomach or make him throw up after an anaesthetic or sedation.

Give your child clear liquids for an upset stomach

If your child has an upset stomach or throws up, keep giving him small amounts of clear liquids often.

You can also try giving your child a small amount of food, such as crackers or toast. Sometimes these foods will help make an upset stomach feel better.

If your child has an upset stomach or keeps throwing up for longer than 6 hours, call your doctor or go to the emergency department in your area.

What to do for your child’s pain

Treating your child’s pain will help him heal faster.

If your child has pain, give him the medicine the doctor ordered for pain. Or give your child the medicine your family doctor says to take for pain or a fever.

Anaesthetic in the lower back

Your child may have had an anaesthetic in the lower back, called an epidural or caudal block.

If your child has received an epidural or caudal block, he may have leg weakness. This weakness should go away in a few hours. You will need to watch your child carefully until the strength in his legs comes back.

What to do for your child’s fever

Many children develop a slight fever after an anaesthetic and operation. The fever will go away within a day or so. If your child has a fever, give him plenty of fluids and the medicine your doctor recommends. If your child has a high fever or you are concerned, call your doctor.

Who to call if you have any concerns

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s health, contact your doctor right away. Do not wait until your next scheduled appointment.

Key points

  • Your child should only do quiet activities after an anaesthetic or sedation.
  • Your child needs lots of liquids. If your child can drink liquids without throwing up or having an upset stomach, he can try eating a small meal.
  • If your child has an upset stomach or is throwing up for longer than 6 hours, call your doctor or take your child to the nearest emergency department.
  • If you are worried about your child's health, do not wait. Contact your doctor right away. Take this information with you.


Penny Andrew, RN, PACU

Joyce Cound McCreadie, RN, PACU

Johanne Ruth, RN, PACU