University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Southampton Children's Hospital

During your stay

Your child’s visit may be for an appointment, day stay or overnight stay. Our experience tells us that the more parents and children know about the hospital and what to expect, the better the children and their families feel.

If your child is coming for surgery

Saturday morning pre-admission club

Our pre-admission club is a family centred service available to all children having operations, designed to help patients and their families prepare for surgery. Please ring 023 8120 4511 to book a place.

During a visit to the club, you may meet an anaesthetist, a nurse, a play specialist and surgeon.

Information sheets

For more information to help your child prepare for an operation, the Royal College of Anaesthetists website has some information sheets featuring Rees Bear has an anaesthetic, Davy the Detective and General Anaesthesia. You can read these together with your child, or print them off, from

Fasting or nil by mouth

Children don’t like being hungry or thirsty but fasting is necessary to make having an anaesthetic (medicine given to make your child go to sleep) as safe as possible. Please refer to your admission letter advising you of when to come to the hospital and follow any fasting instructions carefully.

Your anaesthetist may, after meeting your child, allow him or her a drink of clear fluids if there is time before their procedure begins, but it is very important you follow the written instructions. 

If you do not follow the advice, your child’s operation or procedure may have to be rearranged. If you have any questions about the fasting instructions, please contact your child’s doctor.

Wrist identification bracelets

When your child is admitted, he or she will have a plastic name bracelet attached around their wrist or ankle. One or two bracelets are placed on each child. These tell the staff your child’s name, date of birth and unique hospital number.

A trip to theatre involves travelling through a number of different departments within the hospital, such as the day surgery ward, the operating theatre and recovery room. 

Your child will be cared for by a number of different medical and nursing staff members. For this reason, you will be asked on several occasions to confirm that the information contained on your child’s identification bracelets is correct, and that the procedure undertaken is the one documented on the consent form you have signed.

It may seem unnecessary to be asked these questions repeatedly, but it is part of a safety system that is in place to ensure that the right child gets the right care.

Going off to sleep

The process of going to theatre and the ways that your child can be made to go to sleep will be discussed with you before your child’s operation.

Recovery room or post anaesthetic care unit

This is where your child will be taken to wake up after surgery. Nursing staff will call you into the recovery room as soon as possible after your child arrives. Your child will remain in the recovery room to be monitored by nursing staff, until he or she is fully awake and safe to return to the ward.

Children’s pain management service

The children’s pain management service is a team that oversees acute pain management, usually after an operation. Any patient may be seen by the team to ensure that their pain is being managed as effectively as possible.