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Preparing Your Toddler for Surgery






  • Many toddlers facing surgery will worry about being separated from their parents. 


  • They may worry about needles or painful procedure.  


  • Often they are most upset by the many unfamiliar people they will encounter and the break from their regular routine.   




  • Talk to your toddler the day before surgery. 
  • Choose gentle and simple words to explain the process and what will happen. 
  • Say things like:

o  “The doctor is going to take care of your ears.”

o  “The doctor is going to take care of your arm”

   rather than:

o   “He is going to cut your arm.” 


  • Read books to your toddler about going to the hospital.  


Here is a list of books you and your toddler or pre-schooler may want to read about coming to this hospital.  While they may be great ways to help your child learn about general things associated with a hospital experience, you will need to be careful about the specifics they may contain.  Some things we do here at Baystate Children’s Hospital may differ from things described in these books.  It may be best to get correct information from your surgeon or the nurses who will call you, or to sign up for the hospital tour program. 


Katie Goes to the Hospital by Barbara Taylor Cork


A Visit to the Sesame Street Hospital  by Deborah Hartzig


Franklin Goes to the Hospital by Sharon Jennings


This is a Hospital, Not a Zoo by Roberta Kaim


Going to the Hospital by Fred Rodgers


You and your child can also read this online picture book account of a little girl's surgery experience at Baystate Medical Center.


  • Use dolls or stuffed animals to engage in interactive play about the hospital with your child.


  • Bring a favorite doll, blanket or other loved comfort item with you that day.