Health and Fitness

American Academy of Pediatrics Offers Recommendations to Enhance Safety for Children Receiving Anesthesia

Elk Grove Village, IL—(ENEWSPF)—November 30, 2015. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is publishing updated recommendations for hospitals and other surgery settings to keep infants and children undergoing anesthesia as safe as possible.

The policy statement, “Critical Elements for the Pediatric Perioperative Anesthesia Environment,” will be published in the December 2015 issue of the journal Pediatrics (published online Nov. 30).

Infants between 1 month and 1 year of age have roughly four times higher risk of anesthesia-related cardiac arrest than patients between age 1 and 18 years, and newborns younger than 1 month old have six times the risk faced by other infants. Children undergoing complex procedures or who have co-existing medical conditions also have an increased risk of complications.

The AAP urges hospitals to look at the entire team and setting where children receive anesthesia to provide the best possible care. This includes recommendations that surgical facilities set a minimum number of pediatric anesthesia procedures conducted annually to maintain peak performance.  The report states that high-risk pediatric patients need anesthesiologists with subspecialty certification in pediatric anesthesiology who dedicate at least 30 percent of their clinical practice to neonates and children with complicated medical conditions. Other recommendations include having a separate, family-centered preoperative area for pediatric patients and their families.

“Anesthesiologists and the institutions in which they practice need to have a structured assessment of all the resources at hand–personnel, equipment, facilities, laboratories and ancillary services—to make sure all the pieces are in place to provide the safest possible pediatric anesthesia care,” said lead author David M. Polaner, MD, FAAP. “The AAP policy statement advises institutions on how they should tailor the depth of these resources to the complexity and ages of pediatric patients they serve.”

The policy statement is aligned with the AAP-endorsed American College of Surgeons Children’s Surgery Verification and Quality Improvement program standards that will launch in early 2016.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit or follow us at @AmerAcadPeds.