Pediatric Sedation

EMMC's Pediatric Sedation Program is an integrated clinical service aimed at reducing the pain and stress associated with children's medical care. Children who must undergo uncomfortable or stressful procedures are able to receive special attention and/or medicines to make their overall experience more pleasant.

EMMC's Pediatric Sedation Program is a unique service, unlike any other you'll find in the region.

The Pediatric Sedation Team understands that procedures may not only be painful, but quite scary to children.

MRIs, spinal taps, and tooth extractions are examples of the types of procedures in which our program participates. We take a proactive, customized approach to reducing pain and stress, combining technology and medicine with other behavioral methods for making a child's experience as positive as possible.

What is pediatric sedation?

At EMMC, pediatric sedation is more than just "going to sleep." Our Pediatric Sedation Team, comprised of a team of pediatric intensivists, child life specialists, and pediatric nurses and technicians, works with each child and his or her parents to create a sedation program that is comfortable, safe, and effective.

The Pediatric Sedation Team frequently uses medications for relaxation and pain relief, adjusted for a child's unique needs and tolerances. The medicines we use generally work quickly with few side effects and provide for fast recovery. We combine this with relaxation and distraction techniques and methods of numbing the skin so that the pain of the IV needle is lessened. The entire process is customized for each individual child based on his or her medical history and an assessment by the Pediatric Sedation Team and Child Life Specialist.

Factors that are considered when determining if sedation is right for you include your child's age, the procedure being performed, and the complexity of your child's underlying medical condition. Sedation is not right for every child in every situation. EMMC's Pediatric Sedation Program is proud of its individualized approach to care, and will work with you and your child's doctor to determine if and when sedation is necessary.


More About Pediatric Sedation

  • Ask questions and allow your child to ask questions/ Medical procedures can be scary, especially when you do not understand what is being done and why. Encourage your child to ask the doctor, nurse, or child life specialist about what will happen.
  • It can be difficult to watch your child go through a procedure. Parents frequently have worries and we will offer plenty of time to address questions and concerns. Please be careful about expressing your worries to your child. Adult fears are often very different from those of a child. The biggest fear a child may have is whether or not they can bring their teddy bear to the hospital!
  • Speaking of teddy bears, feel free to bring a comfort object from home. A beloved stuffed animal, blanket, toy or book may be calming to your child.
  • Join our team! As a parent, you know your child best. You can provide us with insights about your child's fears, what will work best, and other things that will be helpful for us to know
  • Pre-registration will call to confirm your appointment and your insurance information.
  • A member of the Pediatric Sedation Team will call you one to three days before the procedure to discuss your child's medical history and review diet guidelines. If you will not be home between 8am and 4pm, please call 973-7373 for other arrangements.
  • Before giving your child anything to eat or drink on the day of the procedure, make sure you have received the proper guidelines regarding your child's diet. If these guidelines are not followed, the procedure may need to be rescheduled.
  • On the day of the procedure, please bring your child to the PICU on the eighth floor at EMMC, where the sedation team will begin its evaluation.
  • An intravenous line (IV) is generally needed to give sedation for the procedure. When you arrive in the PICU, a numbing cream will be placed on your child's skin to lessen the discomfort of the IV placement.
  • child life specialist will be available to help lessen the anxiety and provide distraction.
  • When the IV placement is completed, your child can choose a prize from our toy box.
  • Parents typically stay with their child until the child is asleep. Your child will be placed on a monitor and watched closely by a member of the team during the entire procedure. The IV will be removed soon after the procedure is done.
  • Some procedures are done in the PICU. If your child's procedure is done in another EMMC department, he/she will return to the PICU for recovery.
  • Typically, children wake up very rapidly and are able to eat and drink within minutes.
The Pediatric Sedation Team is comprised of a pediatric intensivist, a child life specialist, a pediatric registered nurse, and a certified nursing assistant.