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For Patients & Parents

Nitrous oxide information

What’s it like?

Nitrous oxide is a gas that inhaled through a mask. After a few minutes, children are more calm and relaxed. Some children even start to giggle! It’s not strong enough, though, to make kids fall deeply asleep. That’s one of the reasons it’s so safe. But that also means that kids will need some distraction during their procedure.

A lot of kids describe “having a dream” after inhaling nitrous oxide during procedures. Most kids are relaxed but able to keep talking during nitrous oxide sedation. A few will be more drowsy than that and some will be wide awake. Each child’s experience is as unique they are.

Once the procedure is done and the nitrous oxide is turned off, the effects are gone in about 10-15 minutes. Kids can go back to regular activities.

Is it safe?

There are some serious medical conditions, like air in the chest (pneumothorax), that may make nitrous oxide risky. Other than that, it is very safe. The most common side effects are nausea and vomiting, but these occur in a small percentage of patients. And if they do occur, they go away once the nitrous oxide is turned off.

Take a look!

Watch this news story highlighting the use of nitrous oxide for pediatric medical procedures.