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Preparing For An Overnight Stay At The Hospital: What You And Your Child Need To Bring


(SOUTHBURY, CT)—What can children bring to the hospital? Can they bring their toys? What about their favorite pajamas?

Pediatric surgery presents hundreds of questions for both children and parents, including what they should bring for an overnight or extended stay. Knowing what to pack from home could lead to a smooth recovery.

“Parents are the vital link throughout the entire process of their child’s surgery,” says Dr. Armen G. Ketchedjian (“Dr. Ketch”), author of Will It Hurt? Parent’s Practical Guide to Children’s Surgery. “Physicians rely on these parents to familiarize themselves with all hospital policies, especially those regarding visitation hours and accommodations.”

To help kids feel more at ease in an unfamiliar place, most hospitals will encourage parents to bring their child’s favorite toys to the facility, as well as the items that are part of his or her daily routine. These might include:
• An extra change of clothes (for both parents and child)
• His or her pajamas, pillow, blanket and towel
• The child’s toothbrush and toothpaste
• Small toys
• Books, magazines or schoolwork (if appropriate)
• Tapes or DVDs (if the hospital has a movie player)
• Favorite snacks and their “sippy cup”
• Board games or a music headset
• His or her stuffed animal
• Glasses, hearing aids, crutches or orthopedic aids

“If a child will be staying overnight,” says Dr. Ketch, “parents need to check with the staff before the surgery to be sure of any items that are not allowed in the patient’s room.”

Policies may vary greatly from hospital to hospital, and what is okay for one may not be okay for another. Know in advance what can be brought to enhance the comfort and care of your child and what cannot.

Parents should also bring a copy of their child’s medical records with them to the pediatric unit. In addition, there are several other important documents and items that need to be on-hand for an overnight stay. These include:
• A list of allergies
• Laboratory reports
• Consultation reports
• Medical letters and notes
• Filled prescription medications
• A record of the child’s height and weight
• An emergency cell phone and charger cord
• An emesis basin (this may not be available in the room)
• A writing pad and pencil for taking notes and listing questions for the doctor

“Preparing a child before and after a surgical procedure may sound like lot of work and a lot of responsibility,” says Dr. Ketch. “And it absolutely is. Parents are the ones who oversee all of the elements that are essential for the optimal care of their child.”

Listed in The Guide to America’s Top Anesthesiologists by the Consumer Research Council of America, Dr. Ketch trained at Cornell Medical Center with a fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a pain management elective at Boston Children’s Hospital. He has worked to help develop new techniques in ambulatory anesthesia, taught medical students and residents, and cared for more than 10,000 patients.

Dr. Ketch is the author of the children’s book Golden Apples (winner of the 2008 Reviewer’s Choice Award), a beautifully illustrated book that aims to help educate children about the dangers of drug abuse.

For more information, contact the author directly at

WARREN ENTERPRISES LLC and author Dr. Armen G. Ketchedjian chose Arbor Books, Inc. ( to design and promote Will It Hurt? Parent’s Practical Guide to Children’s Surgery. Arbor Books is an internationally renowned, full-service book design, ghostwriting and marketing firm.

(Will It Hurt? Parent’s Practical Guide to Children’s Surgery by Dr. Ketch; ISBN: 0-9815373-0-8; $14.95; 172 pages; 5˝” x 8 ˝”; softcover with illustrations; WARREN ENTERPRISES LLC)


 pediatric surgery
 children and surgery

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