Kids Health Info

Day surgery: General discharge care at home

  • For children going home after a day stay in hospital for a minor operation

    Eating and drinking

    • Your child can start eating a light diet such as sandwiches, pasta, soups and jelly. Your child may return to their usual diet when they feel well enough.
    • Babies can start breastfeeding, or drinking formula or water as soon as they are awake from the procedure.

    Nausea and vomiting

    • Do not worry if your child feels sick or vomits once or twice after leaving hospital.
    • If they vomit or feel sick, stop giving food for about one hour. Then try a light diet if your child can manage it without feeling ill.
    • If your child keeps vomiting, please call the hospital (the telephone number is at the end of this page), or your nearest hospital emergency department.

    Wound care

    • If your child has a dressing leave it in place until the review appointment, or take it off as told by your child's surgeon.


    • Because your child has had an anaesthetic, they should rest for the next 24 hours with an adult taking care of them.

    Pain relief

    • Paracetamol can be given at home every four to six hours for one to two days if needed. Read the packaging for the correct dose for your child according to their age. Ask for help if you are unsure.

    • For moderate pain we recommend Painstop Daytime (a codeine and paracetamol mixture). You can buy this over the counter at the chemist.

    • For more severe pain call your child's surgeon or see your family doctor.

    Do not give any medicine with paracetamol in it more than four times in 24 hours.


    • Please arrange a follow-up appointment as discussed with your surgeon. Otherwise, an outpatient appointment notice will be posted to you in the week after your child's operation.
    • If you are concerned or unsure about care at home, please contact your child's surgeon. 

    Contact information

    • The Royal Children's Hospital
      T: (03) 9345 5522 (24hrs)
      Ask switchboard to page the on-call surgical registrar
    • Surgery Centre
      Monday to Friday 7AM to 7PM
      T: (03) 9345 6570

    Factsheet developed by the RCH Surgery Centre.  First published 2005. Updated January 2012.


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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.