Pediatric Sedation Clinic

Hospitals can be a scary place for children, but when your child needs an imaging test or procedure, find comfort at UNM Children’s Hospital. Our expert staff provides family-focused care to put you and your child at ease.

We use child-friendly practices, such as scented anesthesia masks and flavored medicine. And for parents—you will have the opportunity to ask our team all of your questions. We will never move forward with a procedure until you are comfortable.

What is Sedation?

Sedation is a safe and effective way to reduce a child’s anxiety and fear about a procedure or test. It is a medication that will help them relax and remain still. If the procedure or test is painful, a medicine may also be given to help relieve pain. A child looks like they are sleeping when sedated.

Tests & Procedures Requiring Sedation

  • Bone marrow aspiration/biopsy
  • Central line placement
  • Colonoscopy
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Echocardiogram
  • Endoscopy
  • Dialysis/pheresis catheter placement
  • Liver or renal biopsy
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Minor surgery
  • Nuclear medicine testing, such as a renogram
  • Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC line) placement
  • Radiation oncology

What to Expect

A few days before your child’s scheduled test or procedure, you will receive instructions on fasting. This means your child is not to eat or drink anything other than clear liquids for several hours before the test. Food or liquid in the stomach during sedation can cause vomiting. It is important that you follow the fasting instructions for your child’s safety.

Once you arrive at the hospital, your child will be given procedural sedation. This is a medication that will cause drowsiness. The sedation medicine will be administered through a thin tube called an intravenous (IV) line. It is inserted in a vein, usually in the arm or hand. Sedation medication may also be given through a nasal spray. If you're comfortable, we might ask you to hold your child if we insert an IV.

After your child is sleepy, we'll monitor their heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. Our staff will stay with him or her for the entire scan or procedure.

Our Child Life specialists are also available to help ease your child’s anxiety before and after the procedure.

The Day of the Procedure

Be sure to bring your child’s insurance information and any co-pay. Depending on your child’s procedure, we recommend bringing something to do while you wait—one parent or guardian is required to stay close by in case of emergency.

You will check in for your visit at the Pediatric Infusion Unit, on the sixth floor of the Bill and Barbara Richardson Pavilion (BBRP) at UNM Hospital. Once you are checked in, we’ll help you get to our location on the fifth floor of the BBRP at UNM Hospital.

Call 505-272-0404 if you have questions or get lost in the hospital.