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Learning About Sedation (Including MAC) in Children

What is sedation in children?

Sedation is the use of medicine to help your child feel relaxed and comfortable before or during a procedure. It may be used with numbing medicines. Your child may be awake and able to talk to the care team. Or they may be asleep.

How is it given?

The sedative medicine may be given by mouth, in the nose with drops or a mist, or in a vein (by I.V.). Your child will be watched closely. A doctor will make sure that your child stays safe and gets just the right amount of sedative.

How do you prepare?

You'll get instructions to help you prepare for your child's sedation. They'll tell you when your child needs to stop eating, drinking, or breastfeeding before sedation. If your child takes medicine, you'll be told what they can or can't take. Follow all the instructions carefully.

Talk to your child in advance about the test, procedure, or surgery they're having. It can be helpful to explain where they will be and what they might see, hear, or feel.

Make sure your child will have plenty of quiet time at home to recover.

What should you tell the anesthesia specialist before the procedure?

Tell the specialist about any health problems your child has. Tell them about your child's past surgeries. Also let them know if a family member had problems with anesthesia. Give them a list of any medicines and natural health products your child takes.

What are the risks?

Serious problems are rare. They include breathing that slows or stops. An allergic reaction to the medicine could occur. Some things increase a child's risk of problems. They include being younger than 6 or having a developmental disability. Some conditions like obesity, sleep apnea, large tonsils, and major health issues also can raise risk.

Where can you learn more?

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