Pediatric Sedation Program at Children's Hospital of Georgia

The Pediatric Sedation Team at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta, is comprised of specially trained doctors and nurses who provide pediatric sedation for children undergoing a variety of tests or surgical procedures.

Radiological tests (such as pediatric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and pediatric computed tomography (CT) scans) account for a significant number of pediatric sedation cases.

Pediatric sedation techniques:

  • Assure parents that their children will be safely cared for
  • Assist medical personnel in accurately completing a test or procedure
  • Supply timely diagnostic information to referring physicians

Pediatric Sedation Safety Guidelines

Safety is the primary concern when administering sedation to young children. The following guidelines address key factors in preparing your child for sedation.

  • Acute illness: If your child is acutely ill, he/she should not be sedated.  If your child has a fever, cold, pneumonia, vomiting, wheezing or diarrhea two days before the day of the test, he/she should be rescheduled. Please contact your referring physician.
  • Age limits: Because young infants may have problems with some of the sedating agents, the following age guidelines have been established.

If Your Child’s Gestational Age* Was… …the Minimum for Sedation is:

  • …28 weeks 22 weeks or 5½ months
  • …30 weeks 20 weeks or 5 months
  • …32 weeks 18 weeks or 4 ½ months
  • …34 weeks 16 weeks or 4 months
  • …36 weeks 14 weeks or 3 ½ months
  • …38 weeks 4 weeks or 1 month

*Gestational age is calculated as the period between conception and the birth of a baby. A pregnancy of normal gestation occurs when a baby is born at approximately 40 weeks.

  • Chronic illness: The pediatric sedation service performs most of the sedations on outpatients who are having an elective procedure. Some children may not be suitable candidates for this type of sedation because of chronic illness. Examples would include children who are oxygen dependent, those with chronic respiratory problems, or those with congenital heart disease.

Eating/Drinking Safety Guidelines
In order to sedate your child safely, it is very important that you strictly follow the rules regarding fasting. Failure to follow these guidelines puts the patient at risk of aspiration and is the most common reason tests are cancelled.

Ingested Material Minimum Fasting Period

  • Clear liquids - 2 hours
  • Breast milk Infant formula - 4 hours
  • Non-human milk-  6 hours
  • Light meal (e.g., toast, juice) - 6 hours
  • Heavy meal (e.g., meals with meat and/or fried foods, chocolate) - 6 hours

Routine Medications
Children with special medication needs (such as those that need anti-seizure medications) may take their medicine two hours prior to test with a small sip of water.

What to Expect
On the day of the test, you will report to the Pre-Op Clinic on the second floor of the Children's Hospital of Georgia one hour before your child’s scheduled test time. This allows time for registration and pre-sedation preparation.

Following registration, the pediatric sedation team will meet with you and your child to begin the evaluation process. This will involve a review of your child’s health history, a limited physical exam and a discussion of the sedation process.

There will be a review of the consent form and the opportunity to ask questions before placing the IV and administering the medications. The parent, child and pediatric sedation team will then proceed to the radiology area where the test will be performed.

At the conclusion of the test, the sedating agent will be discontinued, and the child will be transported to the recovery area and monitored until he/she is ready for a safe discharge home.

Discharge to Home
In most cases, pediatric patients meet criteria for discharge within a few hours after sedation.

An overnight stay is recommended for full-term infants less than one month of age and premature infants who are less than 60 weeks post conception.

The nurse assisting with the pre-sedation evaluation will provide more specific guidelines based on patient safety standards.

The Pediatric Sedation Team at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia is available to answer any questions you have about the guidelines, as well as any other questions you might have about your child’s procedure.

If you need any further information concerning your child’s sedation procedure, please do not hesitate to contact us at 706-721-KIDS (5437).