We will help prepare your child

When your child is having anesthesia, the last thing you want to feel is unprepared. So at Children’s Minnesota, we go the extra mile to make sure you and your child are ready and relaxed on surgery day. Below are some key things to know about anesthesia at one or our hospitals or day surgery centers.

Preparing for anesthesia and surgery

Knowing what to expect makes anesthesia and surgery less stressful. At Children’s, we’ve developed a number of terrific resources to help you and your child prepare.

  • Planning for surgery We have compiled a list of resources that may be helpful while you plan for surgery.
  • To help your child picture the experience, Children’s has created a read-along coloring book, which you can download and print.
  • When talking with your child before the visit, we suggest that you explain anesthesia as “medicine to help you sleep so you don’t feel anything during the procedure.”
  • Pre-surgery walking tours. Get a peek into the Children’s surgery experience by attending a pre-surgery program, which includes a walking tour of the facility. Tours are designed for children ages 11 and younger, as well as their parents, siblings and other family members. For children ages 12 and up, call the child life program at 612-813-6259 to ask questions or make other arrangements.

Getting to know you

Your child’s anesthesia team will meet with your family before the surgery or procedure to help all of you prepare. You’ll have a chance to discuss your child’s anesthesia plan and ask any questions you might have. This meeting and the surgery itself will occur at one of three locations:

  • Children’s – Minneapolis: Inpatient and outpatient (day) surgery
  • Children’s – St. Paul: Inpatient and outpatient (day) surgery
  • Children’s – Minnetonka: Outpatient (day) surgery

Sweet dreams on surgery day

On the day of surgery, we’ll work with you to make your child’s experience as calm and comforting as possible. Our child life specialists are available to help your child understand and cope with their experience by utilizing age-appropriate strategies.

It’s important to be aware of your own feelings. Anesthesia can make parents nervous, too. It helps to remember that the pediatric anesthesiologists have lots of expertise and experience at what they do.

Some children are still very anxious, even with preparation. In that case, we may use medicine or suggest other ways to help your child relax. When it’s time to start anesthesia you may have the option of staying until your child falls asleep. This is never required, however. Some parents are more at ease not being present. Just let your child’s anesthesia team know your preference, and they’ll be supportive of your choice.

Knowing what to expect helps make anesthesia less stressful. And at Children’s, caring for your child’s emotional comfort is another crucial part of what we do.


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