Young boy cuddling with dog

Hospital procedures can be scary for anyone, especially kids. At Providence, our Pediatric Sedation team works with you and your child to make procedures less painful and less worrisome. We are dedicated to making your child’s experience with us as positive as it can be.

When a child is sedated, they become calm and less anxious. With minimal sedation, the child can respond normally to spoken directions. Moderate sedation causes the child to be less responsive and more relaxed. With deep sedation, the child is asleep but can still be awakened with repeated stimulations.

Sedation can be given by mouth or through an IV. It differs from general anesthesia in that general anesthesia makes the child completely unresponsive. With sedation the child breathes on their own, while with general anesthesia they may need breathing assistance with a ventilator.

Your child may have sedation for procedures such as:

  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • CT scans
  • Electroencephalography
  • Hearing tests
  • Joint injections, such as with Botox
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Minor surgery
  • MRI
  • PICC line placement

Your child’s sedation team will answer any questions you have, first on a phone call before the procedure and also when you arrive at the hospital. The following FAQs can help you get started with understanding pediatric sedation.

Diagnostic imaging tests and other procedures can sometimes be frightening for children. Some tests can also be uncomfortable, and your child may need to hold still for a length of time. Our team will meet with you and your child to develop a sedation plan that is safe, comfortable and allows the test to produce the most accurate results.

Your child’s doctor or nurse will schedule sedation if they feel it is necessary for the specific procedure. You will get a phone call letting you know when the appointment has been made.

You can pre-register for the procedure by calling 907-261-3615. If the procedure is scheduled for a Monday, you’ll need to register before 5:00 p.m. the previous Friday.

If you are unable to pre-register for a Monday procedure during the previous week, you will need to register at the admitting desk when you arrive. If so, please plan to arrive early. The admitting desk is on the 1st floor, just to the right of the main entrance.

A member of our Pediatric Sedation team will call you one or two days before your child’s procedure to discuss their medical history, review what will happen and answer any questions you may have.

If we can’t reach you, or if you have additional questions, please call 907-212-8485 and ask to speak with the procedure nurse. You can also use the same number and ask for the charge nurse, who is available 24 hours a day.

Your child is not allowed to have anything to eat or drink for several hours before the test or procedure. This is to decrease the risk of your child vomiting or breathing fluids into their lungs. Please follow the following guidelines:

If your child eats or drinks these foods: The minimum fasting time before the procedure is:
Clear liquids such as juice, popsicles or Jell-O
2 hours
Breast milk
4 hours
Infant formula, milk or light snacks
6 hours
A meal
8 hours

If your child takes prescription life-sustaining medications, or medications for seizures or behavior modification, they may be taken with a teaspoon of water at the normal time. Any other medications may be given when your child wakes up from sedation. Please bring all the medications your child is currently taking with you to the hospital, in their original packaging.

  • MRI. If your child will be having an MRI, please let the Pediatric Sedation team know if they have any metal implants or programmable shunts. Please dress your child in clothes that don’t have metal parts such as zippers or snaps, and remove all jewelry at home. Pajamas or sweat suits are a comfortable alternative to regular clothes.
  • BAER hearing test. If your child is scheduled for a BAER hearing test, please take your child to see an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor or pediatrician within one week of their scheduled procedure. This is to have your child’s ears evaluated for an ear infection or eardrums that are blocked with wax. These conditions mean the hearing test may have to be delayed or canceled.
  • EEG. If your child is scheduled for an EEG, please make sure their hair is washed and dried the night before or that morning. Don’t use any sprays, oils or dressings on their hair, since they could interfere with the test results. Also, don’t use any clips, barrettes or hair ties in your child’s hair.

If your child feels ill the day of the procedure or has a fever, stuffy nose or is vomiting, please call 907-212-8485 to let us know. With your child’s best interests in mind, we may have to reschedule the procedure.

Feel free to bring a favorite toy, pillow or blanket from home on the day of the procedure. These items can be calming for your child.

If you need age-specific information on how to prepare your child for their visit, please contact our Child Life Department at 907-212-8222. Child Life specialists are experts on how to minimize your child’s anxiety about coming to the hospital.

When you arrive, check in at the main admission desk, which is located diagonally from the main entrance to the hospital. Then bring your child to the Pediatric Center on the 3rd floor of the D Tower of Providence Hospital.

Our Pediatric Sedation team will explain the entire procedure to you and your child. If your child will need an intravenous (IV) line to have sedation during the procedure, a nurse or other staff member will place a numbing cream with lidocaine on their skin where the IV will be inserted. This will lessen the discomfort of the IV.

Parents are always welcome to stay during the procedure. However, if your child is having an MRI or CT and there is a chance you could be pregnant, you will need to stay in the waiting room. Your child will be on a monitor and we will watch them closely during and after the procedure.

Whether or not you remain with your child during the procedure, our highly specialized team will be there to help. They will support your child with cooping skills to reduce anxiety before, during and after the procedure. With this kind of preparation and distraction, some children do not always need sedation for their procedure.

It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours for children to wake up from sedation. The time depends on the type of medication that was used, the procedure and your child’s individual needs. A member of the sedation team will monitor your child and offer something to eat or drink when they wake up.

If an IV was used for sedation, it will be removed soon after the procedure is complete.

Some children feel clumsy or drowsy for several hours after their procedure. Unless we tell you otherwise, your child can return to a normal diet. We encourage quiet play at home for the rest of the day after the procedure. Please watch your child closely until they are back to normal behavior.