Kids Health Info

Sedation for procedures 4: Care at home

  • You need to take extra care of your child for the next 24 hours after sedation.

    Your child can go home after sedation when staff are happy that most of the effects of the medicine have worn off and it is safe for your child to go home.  Sometimes, the effects of the medicine can make your child a bit confused, sleepy or clumsy for the next 24 hours.

    Some 'dos' and 'don'ts' for care at home


    • DO NOT leave your child alone at any time in a car seat or in the car, especially in the first 24 hours after sedation.
    • If your child falls asleep in the car seat or car going home from hospital, DO watch or listen to their breathing to make sure that they do not have any difficulty breathing.  If you are concerned, return to the hospital or call an ambulance. An ambulance is usually safer and faster than driving yourself.
    • Children may go to sleep again after getting home from the hospital. This is usually because of the stress and excitement of being in a hospital. Naturally, your child will sleep if it is after their bed time. 
    • Check on your child's sleeping pattern when they first go to sleep on the night after getting home. Wake them gently if their sleeping seems unusually heavy or strange.  They can then go back to sleep.


    • DO give your child clear liquids such as fruit juice, icy poles, jelly, clear soup etc, if your child is hungry or thirsty when they get home. 
    • DO make the first meal small and light, for example a sandwich, or bread and soup. 
    • DO NOT give your child a heavy meal (for example McDonald's) for the next few hours after getting home. Sometimes children may vomit if they eat a big or high-fat meal too soon after sedation.
    • DO NOT worry if your child vomits once or twice.  Some children may feel unwell or may vomit once or twice after having sedation.


    • DO supervise ALL playing and bathing for the next eight hours after getting home.
    • DO NOT let your child swim; ride a bike; skate; or use swing sets, climbing equipment or monkey bars etc for the next 24 hours.
    • DO NOT let your child use machines or toys that might cause an accident for the next 24 hours.

     Key points to remember

    • Sedation is used often to help children manage their pain or anxiety during procedures.
    • You may need to sign a consent form before your child has sedation.  Make sure you understand the reasons for and the risks of sedation.
    • Be as open and honest as you can with your child about what is going to happen and try not to be too upset yourself.
    • You need to take extra care of your child for the next 24 hours.


    If you are very worried, dial 000 for an ambulance immediately.

    For example if:

    • Your child cannot sit or walk.
    • Your child seems too sleepy or confused.
    • It is hard to wake your child.
    • Your child has breathing problems. 
    • If you cannot wake your child.
    • If something seems very wrong. 


     Call the RCH Emergency Department (T: 03 9345 6153) if your child:

    • vomits more than twice
    • has strange or unusual behaviour
    • has any other symptom that does not seem normal for your child.

    Or if you have any questions.

    The name of the doctor who performed the sedation is:



    For more information


    Please read all factsheets in the series 'Sedation for procedures':






    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Emergency Department in consultation with Anaesthesia and Pain Management. First published: July 2005.

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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.