What happens when my child is sedated?

An imaging team member will decide if it is safe to sedate your child. The team member will ask you about your child's medical history, medications, allergies, and past responses (if any) to sedation. Children with certain risk factors may need general anesthesia during the procedure.

Most sedation medicines are given through an intravenous (IV) line. Sometimes medicines can be given by mouth, depending on the child's age and the type of procedure he or she is having.

A specially trained nurse will watch your child closely during sedation. The nurse will monitor your child's heart rate, breathing, and oxygen levels. All of our nurses are specially trained to respond quickly to any changes in your child's condition.

How long does sedation take?

The time needed for sedation will depend on the procedure being done and the sedation medicine that your child receives. Plan to be at the hospital for at least one hour. Many procedures, such as an MRI, may take longer. Infants younger than 9 months of age have special requirements and need to stay longer than older children. Your nurse will help you plan based on your child's age and the procedure your child is having.

Preparing your child for sedation

Your child will need to lie very still during the scan. If your child doesn't feel well on the day of the appointment, it may be hard to lie still. If your child has a cold or is sick the day of the scan, please call the Imaging Department at (414) 266-8663.

Your child should not eat or drink anything prior to receiving sedation. Use this guide:

  • No solid food eight hours before the scan
  • No milk or formula for six hours before the scan
  • No breast milk for four hours before the scan
  • No clear liquids for two hours before the scan

It is important that you follow these special instructions. If your child eats or drinks anything after the times listed above, the scan may need to be rescheduled.

If your child has diabetes or is taking medicine, check with their doctor about these special instructions.

Taking care of your child after sedation

After sedation, most children are sleepy the rest of the day. They may also be dizzy or unsteady on their feet. Have your child stay home the rest of the day. Your child may play quiet games but should not do activities such as riding a bike or climbing. On the day of the test, you will be given special instructions that will help you care for your child at home. Plan to watch your child closely for a full day after the sedation.

Does sedation pose any risks?

Before your child's procedure, a staff member will explain the risks of sedation to you. The sedation plan will be based on your child's unique circumstances. We strive to provide the best and safest care for your child.

Sedation may not be safe if your child is sick. Please contact us if your child is ill on the day of the procedure. Your child may need to come back another day, when he or she is feeling better.

Make an appointment

To make an appointment, call our Central Scheduling team or request an appointment online.

(877) 607-5280

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Center of Excellence

American College of Radiology's ACR Radiology Award iconDiagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence logo

Children's Wisconsin's imaging department was re-designated as a Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. Our imaging department was the third children's hospital in the nation to receive this prestigious credential.