Before your child is sedated?

Before your child is sedated?


Does every patient and test require sedation?

No.  Although PASS is working to minimize the risks, there are risks related to sedation, so your physician will discuss with you whether they feel your child needs sedation for their test or procedure.  This will depend on the age of your child, their medical problems and the test your child will be having.  Many children will be able to have their test with the help of distraction.  At Children’s Hospital, Child Life is available to assist in calming and preparing a nervous child and they can distract your child with toys during their test.  Also, if not an emergency, your child’s “blood draw” or “stick” may be helped by applying a topical numbing cream.

What can my child eat or drink before sedation?

According to Children’s Hospital Sedation Policy, the NPO guidelines must be followed, if not your child's test will likely need to be rescheduled!!!!

  • No solid food for eight (8) hours prior to the procedure
  • Infants may have milk or formula six (6) hours before the procedure
  • Infants may have breast milk until four (4) hours before the procedure
  • All patients may have clear liquids two (2) hours before the procedure
  • Patients on medication should take all medications with a sip of water at the regularly scheduled time unless told not take them.

How can I prepare my child and myself for the sedation experience?

A member of the sedation service will call you prior to your visit to schedule your appointment, discuss where you will need to come at the hospital, any medical problems of your child and will go over the pre-sedation instructions.  Those instructions tell parents what type of foods are allowed and when food can be given to the child before the procedure. 

If your child will need an IV for the procedure, you will be instructed to come directly to the Radiology Department when you arrive.  The Radiology staff will place a “cream” patch on the area where the IV will be placed.  This cream will numb the skin and area where the IV “stick” will be and make it easier for the child.  You will then register your child at Admitting in the Children’s Hospital Main Lobby while the numbing cream is taking effect on your child’s IV area. 

Once the numbness occurs, a nurse will take the patient back with their parents to place the IV for the procedure.  The IV, which is much like a tiny “straw,” will be placed just under the surface of the skin into a vein.  The nurse will discuss with you what is involved in the procedure your child is having.  Some tests may require your child to drink a watery substance and/or a milkshake substance to drink called “contrast.”  The nurse or a member of the sedation service will explain which type of sedation will be necessary for the particular procedure.

A physician will evaluate all patients who are sedated by the PASS On Pain Service before they are sedated.  Children who receive IV sedation will have a physician and a nurse (RN) monitoring them throughout the procedure.

Please DO the following before a sedation experience: 

  • Bring a list of your child’s medication, any allergies and health problems with you to your appointment.
  • Remove any metal from your child (earrings, necklace, watch, hair-ties, etc.) if having an MRI.  The MRI magnet is ALWAYS on, and these objects can be harmful for your child and the medical staff.
  • If your child has a favorite blanket or special stuffed animal, bring it to the hospital with you.  Again, make sure it has no metal parts.
  • Arrive early for the appointment for any pre-sedation procedures.
  • If your child takes medication for ADHD, please make sure you give it to him/her on the day of the test.
  • Arrange for care of your other children.  They will not be allowed in the testing area, and we do not have childcare providers on site.
  • For your child’s safety, follow all pre-sedation instructions provided to you.  Some of the instructions prevent further illness and others help keep the time of the procedure to a minimum.

Please DO NOT do the following before a sedation experience:

  • Plan other commitments around the time of testing.  Depending on the test you are coming for the procedure may take 30 minutes to two hours.  So please arrive on time and plan to be at the hospital for a little while as the test cannot be rushed.
  • Please realize that we do our best to stay on schedule with the appointments but on occasion emergencies or other unforeseen issues may delay the start of the test.  We appreciate your patience.

What do I do while my child is sedated?

In most situations, parents will be allowed to remain with the child until they fall asleep.  Parents will then be allowed to come back to see their child as they wake up.  The “asleep” time will vary depending on the test and the patient.  

Helpful Hints for MRI Testing

Before coming to the hospital, talk with your child about things he/she might see or hear.  For example, you might play a game with your child scheduled for an MRI.  Using a coffee table at home, drape a blanket over it with your child lying underneath.  Make some type of noises (for example, running a vacuum cleaner, etc.) while he or she lies still to pretend to be in the MRI.  Each time you practice, have your child lie still for longer periods of time.

Allow your child to ask questions.  We want all patients to understand the testing process and feel confident and secure.

Consider that children’s fears are different from those of adults.  Most children do not experience claustrophobia (the fear of closed spaces); they are more concerned about the noise of the machine and having to lie still.

For more information on MRI at East Tennessee Children's Hospital please click here