One of the most difficult decisions parents face is whether their young child should have surgery. The issue becomes more complicated due to concerns about a child's response to general anesthesia or sedation.
To address the critical public health issues associated with the safe use of anesthesia and sedatives in young children and provide parents and doctors with the information they need when faced with such a dilemma, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) have created research initiative called SmartTots. The IARS is working with the FDA and multiple stakeholders (e.g., professional societies, academic research institutions, patient advocacy groups, industry and other government and nonprofit organizations) to increase the safety of anesthetic drugs for the millions of infants and children who undergo anesthesia each year.
Early research suggests that some anesthetic drugs may be safer than others when administered to very young children, especially if they undergo multiple surgeries.