What Are The Risks Of Anesthesia For Babies, Toddlers, And Infants?

Anesthesia for pediatrics (babies and toddlers) will always be a controversial subject, but I think most experts would agree that if the procedure is elective, and can be delayed until later on in life, that would be more ideal.

The brain of a child is ever expanding, forming millions of neurons every year, and strengthening old connections. We still don't quite understand the complete physiology of how modern anesthetics work.

But in essence they work by quieting the brain temporarily, by supporting cells that inhibit activity. The issue arises in the long term consequences and reversibility in this action.

Anesthesia Risks For Children

Some people believe that anesthesia in kid can lead to neural apoptosis (cell death), or decrease their ability to form those strong bonds, and some studies have been done that show a slight drop off in overall IQ after repeated exposure.

Here is a recent FDA warning recommending to limit exposure:


And also a great website for parents:


With all this being said, if your child really needs the MRI, then I would not delay it. Likely because of their age, they will need anesthesia to remain still to get the best image possible.

I would just recommend to ensure you have adequately trained personnel administering it (at the very least a CRNA, and if possible, request an anesthesiologist).

This information is provided by an anesthesiologist reader of Financial Samurai, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Further Reading

I've truly enjoyed being a stay at home dad for the past four years. Being an early retiree with an online property has really been a boon to family lifestyle.

Kids are unpredictable, ever changing, and so incredibly sweet. Just be prepared for the unexpected. Make sure you have great health insurance, life insurance, and financial stability. I had to take both of my kids to the ER as babies and although the first ER doctor we encountered was horrible, the rest were incredible. Having great doctors makes all the difference.

If you're a parent or thinking about starting a family, here are some additional articles to check out.

Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate. 

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