Anaesthesia common questions

Many parents have concerns about their child having an anaesthetic. Anaesthetists are specialist doctors who are highly trained and experienced to look after patients during operations.

After giving your child the anaesthetic, the anaesthetist will monitor their breathing and circulation throughout the operation.

The anaesthetist will also make sure your child has minimal pain afterwards.

How will my child ‘go to sleep’?

  • either with a mask releasing the anaesthetic gas on their face, or
  • with an injection
  • anaesthetists have techniques to make the process less scary for children.

Can I stay with my child during anaesthesia?

  • if the anaesthetist agrees, one parent or carer may be allowed into the anaesthetic room to stay until your child falls asleep
  • a Hospital Volunteer is available to take you to and from the operating theatre
  • it can be unsettling to watch if you have not seen it before 
  • the anaesthetist will discuss the best approach with you 

Preparing your child for a general anaesthetic

  • preparing your child for a general anaesthetic (GA) can minimise stress and anxiety
  • how you prepare your child will depend on their age and behaviour 
  • children react and cope differently and some may be more nervous and scared than others
  • the care team and Child Life Therapists are trained to help you through the Hospital experience. 

Child life therapy service

Child Life Therapy provide a Monday to Friday service to patients having  general anaesthetic

Child Life Therapy can be contacted prior to surgery to answer questions, help plan your child’s admission or assist with surgery preparation. 

You can access this service by speaking to nursing staff or contacting the Child Life Therapy office.

Contact the Child Life Therapy service

The Children's Hospital at Westmead

  • (02) 9845 3369

Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick

  • (02) 9382 0007 or (02) 9382 6984
Last updated Friday 19th January 2024