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Anesthesia Before Surgery
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Anesthesia Before Surgery

Parent present induction is the medical way of saying that a parent or legal guardian can be in the operating room when the anesthesiologist administers medicine to help your child go to sleep. When everything in the operating room is ready for your child, a staff member will accompany the two of you to the operating room. The idea is that a loved one's presence will help ease the child's anxiety in this hard-to-understand time.

Parent present induction is available if your child is older than 9 months or less than 14 years old. If your child is less than 9 months old, the anesthesiologist may choose to have a staff member take the child to the operating room in the event of emergency surgery, if your child is critically ill or if there are any of a variety of other medical conditions.

In any case, the anesthesiologist makes the final decision on parent present induction.

If You Are Present
If you go with your child to the operating room, your job is to support your child emotionally. Get close, hold hands, sing and talk reassuringly. Rub their hand, arm or leg. Encourage deep breaths and remind them that it will soon be over. You may even find it helpful to turn the visit into a game, where you count deep breaths together to see how long it takes to go to sleep.

What to Expect
Children usually go through an excited phase before going to sleep. During this phase your child may not be in control of their actions. Each child is different, but the following reactions are quite common:

  • Fighting, kicking or swinging arms/legs
  • Saying things that do not make sense
  • Eyes getting big, glossy or unfocused
  • Eyes rolling back
  • Coughing or gagging sounds through the mask

After your child goes to sleep, a staff member will walk you out of the surgery room to the waiting room. Your child is monitored and cared for throughout surgery by a dedicated operating room team.