Fasting Guidelines

Fasting times required before surgery vary according to the patient's age.

For your child's safety, it is very important that you follow these instructions exactly. If these instructions are not followed and anesthesia is administered, vomiting, aspiration and pneumonia may occur.

Child less than 6 months of age

  • No fatty foods after midnight
  • 4 hours before surgery: stop solid baby foods, cereal, formula, milk and breast milk
  • 2 hours before surgery:
    • Stop clear liquids
    • Do not give anything more to drink

Patient 6 months of age to 36 months of age

  • No fatty foods after midnight
  • 6 hours before surgery: stop solid foods, milk and milk products, citrus juice, candy, gum
  • 2 hours before surgery
    • Stop clear liquids
    • Do not give anything more to drink

Patient greater than 36 months of age

  • No fatty foods after midnight
  • 8 hours before surgery: stop solid foods, milk and milk products
  • 2 hours before surgery: stop clear liquids

Fasting (NPO) Guidelines for Children Prior to Surgery

  0-5 months old 6-36 months old >36 months old
Clear Liquids 2 hours 2 hours 2 hours
Breast Milk 4 hours 6 hours 8 hours
Formula 4 hours 6 hours N/A
Solids/Milk 4 hours 6 hours 8 hours

Clear liquids are fluids you can see through:

  • Water
  • Sugar water
  • Pedialyte
  • Gatorade
  • Kool Aid
  • Apple juice
  • Pulp free juices
  • Jell-O
  • Popsicles
  • Fat-free broth

Orange juice, cow's milk, soymilk, and formula are NOT clear liquids.

If the fasting guidelines are not followed, the anesthesiologist will determine when the surgery will be performed.