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Deep Sedation In Children


Your child cannot be easily woken up during deep sedation, and he or she may need help to breathe. Deep sedation may be used to treat pain or let your child's body heal after an injury or illness. It may also be used during painful procedures such as bandage changes, repair of a laceration, or drainage of an abscess. Deep sedation may be given to prevent your child from moving during a test, such as a lumbar puncture or bone biopsy. Deep sedation can be given as an IV injection, a shot, a pill, or through an inhaled solution.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child cannot be woken.
  • Your child has trouble breathing.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child complains of a severe headache or dizziness, or cries constantly.
  • Your child's heart is beating faster than usual.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever or chills.
  • Your child has nausea or is vomiting for longer than 8 hours after the procedure.
  • Your child's skin is itchy, swollen, or he or she has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care for your child:

  • Give your child plenty of liquids to help flush the medicine out of his or her body. Ask how much liquid to give your child and which liquids are best for him or her.
  • Give your child small, frequent meals to prevent nausea and vomiting from the medicine. Start with clear liquids such as cranberry juice or ginger-ale. If your child does okay with clear liquids, start giving your child his or her usual foods.
  • Limit your child's activity to prevent accidents. After deep sedation, your child may feel lightheaded and unsteady on his or her feet. Do not leave your child alone. Have your child lie on the couch or rest quietly until the day after the procedure. Walk with your child to the bathroom. Your child should not play sports or do vigorous activity after deep sedation. Your child may be able to return to his or her normal activities in 24 hours.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.