Way to Grow Header

Sedation, Preparing Your Child

(757) 668-7000

What is sedation?

Your child has been scheduled for a procedure that may require sedation. Sedation means that your child will be given medicine to help decrease anxiety or pain, to make him/her sleepy, or both during the procedure or test.

A doctor at CHKD (in the hospital at the time of the procedure) will talk to you about the type of sedation that can be given to your child and the way that the sedation is given. This may or may not require your child to have an intravenous catheter ("IV") placed in order to administer the medication.

What do you need to do AT HOME to get your child ready?

To keep your child safe when he or she is being sedated you must follow instructions carefully.

    Eating and Drinking:

    The instructions below are to prevent your child from having an upset stomach and vomiting during the procedure. It is very important to follow strict instructions for eating and drinking prior to the procedure or test. Stop giving your child food or drinks as follows:

    • 2 hours before their appointment for clear liquids*
    • 4 hours before their appointment for breast milk
    • 6 hours before their appointment for infant formula
    • 6 hours before their appointment for a light meal (no fatty food)
    • 8 hours for a full or “fatty” meal

    * Clear liquids include: Infants - water or Pedialyte; Older children- apple juice, water, Pedialyte, non-carbonated beverages


    We want your child to be tired and sleepy when he/she arrives because it helps the medicine work well. If you can keep your child up at least 2 hours past normal bedtime and awaken your child 2 hours earlier than normal. If the test is scheduled later in the day, please do not let your child nap or sleep in the car on the way to the procedure.

    Medications at home:

    Regularly scheduled medications should be given unless instructed otherwise. A small sip of water can be given if needed for medications. Bring all medications your child regularly receives to the testing area. The nurse will check them.


If your child has any of the following symptoms he or she may not be able to be sedated. Please call your doctor or the department where the test or procedure is scheduled if your child has any of these symptoms or exposure to contagious disease within 24 hours of the test or procedure:

  • Very stuffy nose or congestion, especially if worse than usual for your child
  • Frequent coughing especially at night
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea.

Pregnancy Testing:

It is our policy to test for pregnancy before sedation is given to any girl age 12 and older, and younger girls who have started menses. By law, a positive result will be shared with the patient, and she will be encouraged to discuss this with her parent or guardian. Positive pregnancy results will likely cause the procedure to be rescheduled.

Previous Sedation:

If your child has been sedated before, please let the doctor or nurse know if there were any problems with the sedation.

Special needs:

Please inform the doctor or nurse if your child has any special medical equipment (CVL, Portacath, tracheostomy, apnea monitor, etc.).

Schedule a pre-visit with a Child Life Specialist:

You may schedule a pre-visit with a Child Life Specialist to explain the procedure to your child. We encourage this to prepare your child and reduce anxiety. The pre-visit is usually scheduled a few days prior to the procedure. To make an appointment with Child Life call (757) 668-7327. The department performing the procedure will contact you the day before to review instructions and to answer any questions. If your procedure is scheduled at the CHKD Day Surgery Center you may reach us Monday through Friday – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (757) 668-7332.

Referring Doctor _____________________________________

Department for Procedure ______________________________

Phone Number _______________________________________

Call between the hours of _______________________________

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 04/2009

(757) 668-7000