boy in hospital bed

Children are naturally active and can have a hard time remaining very still, especially for long medical procedures. Anxiety surrounding an upcoming test can also add to a child’s already restless nature. Our Nemours pediatric sedation team understands, and we’re devoted to helping kids feel less anxious and more comfortable during their procedure or test.

Read More About Pediatric Sedation Medicine

When kids get sedation that means they’re given medicine to make them feel more relaxed or sleepy. Depending on the needs of the child or procedure, pediatric sedation medicine can be delivered in a variety of ways, including:

  • inhaled (breathed in)
  • orally (through the mouth)
  • intravenously (through an IV)
Procedures that may require sedation in children include:
  • insertion and/or removal of sutures (stitches)
  • IV starts
  • minor surgical procedures
  • dressing changes on wounds
  • casting, setting, pin removal, etc. for fractures
  • insertion and/or removal of a bladder catheter, a hollow, soft tube inserted into the urethra; a tube-like structure that ends at the tip of the penis in boys and just above the vaginal opening in girls
  • insertion and/or removal of a central venous line, also called a central line; a long, thin, flexible tube that’s surgically placed into the larger veins of the neck or groin and travels to a large blood vessel near the heart

Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington

1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
Get Map & Directions »
Learn More About This Location »

For Appointments: (302) 651-4200

Hours: Monday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
For Appointments: (302) 651-4397

What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
Returning Patients
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Forms & Resources
Returning Patients
  • Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
    English | Spanish
    Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families
Preparing for Pediatric Sedation

Before your visit, you’ll receive a screening call from a Nemours sedation nurse to make sure your child has the best plan in place for the upcoming test or procedure. We can also answer any questions on this call.

Before the Procedure: Eating Instructions

It’s important to limit food and/or liquids before tests to help ensure your child’s safety and accurate results.

Please follow these instructions:

  • Routine medications may be given with a small amount of water or clear liquids until two hours before arrival time.
  • No food, baby food/cereal, tube feedings, milk, citrus juice, candy, or gum should be consumed for eight hours prior to the procedure.
  • Infants up to 12 months of age may have formula six hours before the procedure; breast milk until four hours before the procedure.
  • All patients may have clear liquids until two hours before the procedure (clear liquids include water, apple or white grape juice, Gatorade, or Pedialyte).
During the Procedure

If your child needs sedation for a procedure, you and members of our Sedation Team will be with your child throughout the entire sedation process so that other medical staff can focus entirely on the test or procedure.

After the Procedure

Depending on the medicine used to sedate your child, the recovery period can range from a few minutes to several hours. Your child must be awake, alert and interactive, and able to drink clear liquids before being discharged home.

Each year, the pediatric Sedation Team, part of the Department of Day Medicine at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, helps more than 5,000 children successfully complete medical procedures.

Our comprehensive sedation services are specifically tailored to the unique needs of the child and the procedure or test being performed. Our pediatric Sedation Team includes physicians, advance practice nurses, and registered nurses who work closely with our Anesthesia department to provide a broad spectrum of services.

Levels of Sedation

Depending upon the level of sedation, your child may be conscious and talkative, or may be deeply asleep and breathing normally.

The three types of sedation are:
  • Minimal Sedation: Your child responds normally to requests.
  • Moderate Sedation: Your child responds to stimulation, but may be drowsy.
  • Deep Sedation: Your child is asleep and lies still, but can be aroused by repeated stimulation.

Only Pediatric Hospital in the Region Offering Nitrous Oxide for Sedation

Nitrous oxide is a very quick-acting inhaled sedation medicine that decreases discomfort and anxiety and may be a sedation option for some children in some procedures. Nitrous oxide makes children feel relaxed and sleepy, but it does not cause a deep sleep, like with anesthesia.

Once it’s stopped, the nitrous oxide wears off almost immediately (within just a couple of minutes) and has no side effects. That means kids can return to regular activities almost immediately after the procedure. And we’re the only children’s hospital in the region offering it!

Our Commitment to Comfort

At Nemours, we believe all patients have a right to the best level of pain relief that can be safely provided.

We’re committed to a team approach for pain prevention and anxiety management. Our goal is to work closely with parents and families to prevent pain whenever possible and provide prompt evaluation and effective treatments to reduce children’s discomfort.

Because you know your child best, you have a very important role in helping to shape decisions about managing pain.