Frequently Asked Questions

The Operating Room

Q. Am I allowed to be in the operating room when my child goes to sleep?

A. Your anesthesiologist is responsible for making this decision. Anesthesiologists at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego are highly experienced in determining what is best for a child, having cared for more than one million children in this situation.

Q. Does it help my child if I am with him/her when he/she goes to sleep?

A. Perhaps. Years ago, we thought that children (between ages 1 and 10) might benefit from having a parent with them when going to sleep. But medical research has shown this is not always the case. Your anesthesiologist will consider what’s best for your child and discuss it with you.

Q. I was told I’m not allowed to be in the operating room with my child. Why?

A. Having an additional person in the operating room may not always be best for your child. Think of a passenger in the cockpit during takeoff while the pilot and crew are trying to focus on flying the airplane. This is especially true for complex situations such as emergencies, cardiac surgery, spine surgery, neurosurgery, children who have difficulty breathing, and children under one year of age.

Q. What can I expect if I go to the operating room with my child?

A. You must follow all instructions carefully. You should be calm and comfort your child. You might be asked to help by firmly holding your child if he/she struggles when going to sleep. Your child may appear to breathe and move in a way that might be very upsetting to you, but these movements are normal and you should not be alarmed. You must leave the operating room when asked so the team can focus all of their attention on your child.

Authored by D. Frankville and approved by Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego anesthesiologists, 7/21/2014