Eating and drinking instructions

Your child’s stomach must be empty for surgery. Your child’s surgery will be delayed or rescheduled if you do not follow these instructions.

  • Do not eat food or candy (including gum) after midnight, unless you are given other instructions by your team.
  • Your child may have:
  • Formula or milk up to 6 hours before surgery
  • Breast milk or an unlimited amount of clear fluids up to 4 hours before surgery
  • A limited amount of clear fluids up to 2 hours before surgery if their doctor approves. The amount is based on age:
    • 0 to 4 years old: no more than 2 ounces (1/4 cup)
    • 5 to 12 years old: no more than 4 ounces (1/2 cup)
    • 13 years and older: no more than 8 ounces (1 cup)
  • Clear fluids are limited to:
    • Apple or white grape juice
    • Clear tea
    • Pedialyte
    • Sports drinks, such as Gatorade 
    • Water


  • Park in Parking Ramp 2.  (see map
  • Parking Ramp 2 is underground near the main entrance of the children’s hospital.
  • Or you may use valet parking for a daily rate. Valet parking is at the main entrance of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
  • After you park, take the south parking ramp elevators and push the “G” (ground floor) button. Exit to the left, and you will see the Gerdin Family Lobby in the children’s hospital. Take the public elevators near the information desk to Level 4. Look for the green turtle that identifies Level 4.
  • After you check in for surgery, you will be given a Patient Parking Pass for free parking.

What to bring

Kids can bring their:

  • Pajamas and slippers
  • Special toy or blanket that will comfort them

Bring any medical items your child uses, such as:

  • Medicines
  • Special formula
  • Specialized medical equipment

Medical Services