Recovery After Procedural Sedation (Child)

Your child was given medicine to get ready for a procedure. This may have included both a pain medicine and a sleeping medicine. Most of the effects will wear off before your child goes home. But drowsiness may continue for the first 6 to 8 hours after the procedure.

Home care

Follow these guidelines after your child returns home:

  • Watch your child closely for the first 12 to 24 hours after the procedure. Don’t leave your child alone in the bath or near water. Don't let your child skateboard, skate, or ride a bike until they're fully alert and have normal balance. This is to help prevent injuries.

  • It’s OK to let your child sleep. But always ask your child's healthcare provider how often you should wake your child. When you wake your child, check for the signs in "When to seek medical advice" (below).

  • Don’t give your child any medicine during the first 4 hours after the procedure unless your child's provider tells you to. Certain medicines, such as those for pain or cold relief, might react with the medicines your child was given for the procedure. This can cause a much stronger response than usual.

  • If your child is old enough to drive, don't allow them to drive for at least 24 hours. Your child should also not make any important business or personal decisions during this time.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as advised. Call the provider if you have any concerns about how your child is breathing. Also call the provider if you're concerned about your child's reaction to the procedure or medicine.

Checking your child's breathing

Sedation can affect breathing after the procedure. Watch your child closely for the first 12 to 24 hours at home. Check that they're breathing normally during this time. One breath is counted each time your child breathes both in and out.

Fast breathing is:

  • For newborn to 6 weeks old. More than 60 breaths per minute

  • For a child 6 weeks to 2 years. More than 45 breaths per minute

  • For a child 3 to 6 years old. More than 35 breaths per minute

  • For a child 7 to 10 years old. More than 30 breaths per minute

  • For a child older than 10. More than 25 breaths per minute

Slow breathing is:

  • For newborn to 6 weeks old. Fewer than 25 breaths per minute

  • For a child 6 weeks to 1 year. Fewer than 20 breaths per minute

  • For a child 1 to 3 years old. Fewer than 18 breaths per minute

  • For a child 4 to 6 years old. Fewer than 16 breaths per minute

  • For a child 7 to 9 years old. Fewer than 14 breaths per minute

  • For a child 10 to 14 years old. Fewer than 12 breaths per minute

  • For a child older than 14. Fewer than 10 breaths per minute

When to get medical care

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Drowsiness that gets worse

  • Weakness or dizziness

  • New rash

  • Repeated vomiting

  • Cough

  • Fast breathing

  • Slow breathing

Call 911

Call 911 if your child has any of these:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Loss of consciousness or they can't wake up as normal

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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