Pediatric Surgical Services
Hasbro Children's Hospital

Accompanying Your Child to the Operating Room

The Hasbro Children’s Hospital surgical suite provides a family-oriented environment in which the emotional stress associated with surgery can be reduced in a variety of ways. The orientation begins with participation at our preoperative program and familiarization for both child and parent with procedures that will be followed on the day of surgery.

The emotional effects of anesthesia induction are very age-dependent. Younger infants separate from parents easily and are generally accepting of the face mask used to induce anesthesia. Parental anxiety is high, and it is recommended that parents of young infants not enter the operating room, so that operating room staff might concentrate efforts solely on the safety of the child.

Once stranger anxiety occurs, children may be comforted by the presence of a parent, although they are extremely sensitive to parental anxiety and may become more upset by the presence of a nervous parent. Only one parent is permitted in the operating room, so it may be beneficial to decide ahead of times which parent will be more comfortable in this environment.

If you can maintain a positive attitude, it will help your child to be more confident. Some children become acutely anxious at the last moment; try to be firm and reassuring, keeping in mind that operating room professionals are trained to handle children’s anxiety. In some cases, preoperative sedation (usually a drink) may be utilized to help relax your child before induction. If you believe this is appropriate for your child, please take the opportunity to discuss this option with your anesthesiologist at the preoperative program.

If You Plan to Accompany Your Child into the Operating Room, Please Read the Following Carefully

The onset of general anesthesia involves complete loss of consciousness, limp appearance, unfocused (glassy) eyes, and the potential for disturbances in breathing and heart function. A period of excitement and restlessness may occur. Anxiety reactions occur in some patients. For safety reasons, pregnant women should not enter the operating room.

In order to ensure maximum safety for your child, it is important to immediately respond to any directive from anesthesia or nursing staff while in the operating suite.

For More Information

We are always happy to answer any of your questions; call us at 401-444-6030.

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