There are 1.9 billion children in the world, with millions of kids undergoing surgery every year. Pediatric surgeries in the United States alone total 3.9 million. With so many pediatric cases, surgery may be routine but, when it is your child, this fact offers little comfort. For the kids, the process of the surgical experience is unsettling, to say the least. The adult atmosphere of a hospital surgical and preoperative suite offer little to make them feel comfortable. Even the best intentioned explanations fail to soothe their fears. In the preoperative area, nurses and child life specialists do their best and, many times, do win a child’s trust. But once they leave the insulated walls of preop, and enter the sterile, harsh world of the operating room, all bets are off.
A child’s anxiety rises with the peak occurring during placement of the anesthesia mask. The anesthesia mask is part of the standard pediatric induction, ie, taking them from a level of wakefulness to “sleep” (anesthetized). The plastic material against their face coupled with the foul scent of the anesthetic gases is enough to make the most cooperative kids resist. Even those initially distracted by videos or games may push away, cry or just go limp out of terror. These negative experiences can affect a child upon awakening (known as emergence delirium/agitation), increase their postoperative pain and cause maladaptive behavior changes at home for a period of weeks, months or, in some cases, years. Should the child need follow-up surgery, they are already primed for the fight or flight response.
There is good news, though! There now exists a fun way to take the stress and anxiety out of this process for both you and your child. If you’re interested, keep reading.
What Parents Can Do To Help Their Child
Parents must prepare themselves and their child for the experience of the operating room. You feel anxious and, seeing your child struggle, your anxiety increases. This anxiety will also feed your child’s fears. It turns into a vicious cycle. Studies show the best way to help your child during induction of anesthesia is for you to remain calm, and be reassuring with your mannerisms and your words.
Another thing you can do to help your child’s surgical day go well is to make sure he or she gets a good night sleep the night before.
Who Will Provide Anesthesia For Your Child?
If your child is scheduled for a procedure or surgery, his or her anesthetic will be delivered by a board certified anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist. These are experts in the delivery of anesthesia, from the preop interview to induction, maintenance, emergence and postoperative care. It is also their goal to put you and your child at ease. They reach this goal by answering your questions and treating your child like a child–not a miniature adult. Children have their own set of fears and comprehension based on their developmental level. They will use either medication and/or distraction to help your child acclimate to the operating room.
When Will You Meet Your Child’s Your Anesthesia Team?
Initially, you and your child will go to the preoperative area where the nurses will prepare your child for entry into the operating theatre. Your child’s anesthesiologist will meet you there to discuss the type of anesthesia, risks, benefits and what to expect. This is your chance to ask any and all questions related to your child’s anesthetic and answer questions about your child’s history. Don’t be surprised if they ask about everything from your labor and delivery, if your child was a premie, his or her medical history, recent colds, allergies, medications, immunizations and the last time he or she ate or drank. The anesthesia team will want your child to be without food for six hours and fluids for a period of 2-4 hours, but this may vary depending on the hospital and policy. Your anesthesia provider will explain why they need to get such details about your child if you should want to know. There are many reasons for these questions; know that they are all to keep your child safe.
Don’t forget to ask about the process of anesthesia induction. If you prefer your anesthesiologist to avoid the anesthesia mask during induction, he or she may opt for the Pedia Anesthesia Balloon. These are available in three colors and serve as an excellent distraction. Plus, no mask!
At PeDIA, we replace your kid’s anxiety and stress with something colorful and fun!
Why use an Anesthesia Balloon?
A child’s best coping mechanism is play. That’s why we fashioned our Anesthesia Balloons to look and sound like toys. The balloons whistle as your child breathes through it, inhaling the anesthetic and, basically, anesthetize himself/herself. Since this anesthesia device resembles a familiar toy, it also serves to decrease the child’s anxiety.
At PeDIA, our goal is to turn Panic into PLAY with our revolutionary Anesthesia Balloons.
For more information, visit our website, https://www.PediaLLC.com