Fluid fasting before general anaesthesia in young children

The Royal College of Anaesthetists supports the joint consensus statement from the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, the European Society for Paediatric Anaesthesiology and L'Association Des Anesthesistes-Reanimatuers Pediatriques d'Expression Francais on updated fluid fasting guidelines for children prior to elective general anaesthesia.

Based on the current convincing evidence base, unless there is a clear contra-indication, it is safe and recommended for all children1 able to take clear fluids2, to be allowed and encouraged to have them up to one hour before elective general anaesthesia.

A special interest article providing further information is available for viewing in Pediatric Anesthesia.


1. In the context of this guidance, this includes:

  • Neonatal babies - under four weeks
  • Infants - up to one year
  • Pre-school children - under five years
  • Children - 5 to 16 years
  • Young people- 16 to 18 years

2. Clear fluids in the context of these guidelines are defined as water, clear non-opaque fruit juice or squash/cordial, ready diluted drinks and non-fizzy sports drinks. Non-thickened and non-carbonated. The maximum volume of clear fluids is 3ml/kg.

01 May 2018