Pediatric Sedation Team

Our Approach

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. 

What Is Sedation?

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.

What Procedures Are Performed With Sedation?

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 

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Why does my child need 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.

Who schedules my child’s sedation?

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.

How do I pre-register for my child’s procedure?

You can pre-register for the procedure by calling 907-261-3149, from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 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.

Will someone from the hospital be in touch before the procedure?

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 907-212-3133 between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, 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.

Are there restrictions on what my child can eat before the procedure?

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/drinks Minimum fasting period
Clear liquids: juice, popsicle, jello​ 2 hours​
Breast milk​ 4 hours​
Infant formula/milk/light snack​ 6 hours​
Meal​ 8 hours​

Can my child take their medications?

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.

Are there specific directions for certain procedures?

  • 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.

What if my child gets sick before the procedure?

If your child feels ill the day of the procedure or has a fever, stuffy nose or is vomiting, please call 907-212-3133 to let us know. With your child’s best interests in mind, we may have to reschedule the procedure.

What will happen on the day of the procedure?

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 Intensive Care Unit (PICU), which is on the third floor of the D Tower of Providence Hospital. A security person at the boat desk near the PICU will give you a parent badge that allows you to go through the PICU doors.

In the PICU, our 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.

Can I stay with my child during the procedure?

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 are with your child for the procedure, a child life specialist will be there to help. These specialists prepare children and help them find coping skills that help reduce anxiety before, during and after the procedure. With this kind of preparation and distraction, some children don’t need sedation for their procedure.

Many procedures are done in the PICU. If your child’s procedure takes place in another area, your child will return to the PICU, where our staff will help them wake up.

How will my child feel after the procedure?

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.