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Procedural Sedation in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

Procedural sedation is medicine given during a procedure to help your child feel relaxed and calm. It may also be given to help decrease your child's movement during a procedure or treatment. After sedation you may notice that your child has problems with short-term memory. Your child may be sleepy and need frequent naps after he or she goes home. Your child may also feel weak or have trouble with his or her balance. These symptoms should go away in 24 hours or less.


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 has 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:

  • Watch your child closely for the next 24 hours. Do not leave your child alone in the bath or shower. Do not let your child cook, use appliances, or play outside unless you are watching him or her.
  • Limit your child's activity to prevent accidents. Have your child lie on the couch or rest quietly. Walk with your child to the bathroom. Do not let your child play sports or do vigorous activity. Do not let your child ride a bike, swim, play on swing sets, or play on jungle gyms. Your child can return to his or her normal activities in 24 hours.
  • Feed your child slowly to prevent nausea and vomiting. If your child is younger than 1 year, feed him or her half of the usual feeding 1 hour after sedation. Wait 2 hours after sedation to feed your older child. Start with clear liquids such as cranberry juice or ginger-ale. If your child does not vomit after clear liquids, start giving your child his or her usual foods. Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids when he or she can drink without vomiting. Liquids 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.

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.