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To test the hypothesis that the need to attain immobility during pediatric sedation for procedures determines the depth of sedation, which cannot always be predicted.A retrospective review of sedation documents of 301 consecutive sedations of pediatric patients undergoing various proceduresDivision of Critical Care sedation service within a children’s hospitalThe medical records and sedation forms of our most recent 301 consecutive sedations were retrospectively reviewed. Based on the data gathered, the patients were categorized according to their achieved level of immobility, their level of consciousness according to the definitions of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the procedures for which sedation was administered, and the sedatives used. A total of 125 males and 89 females received 301 sedations. Their ages ranged from 22 days to 29 years (mean 7 y + 6 y). We recognized four categories of immobility for procedures. In category 1, some motion was allowed during painless and noninvasive procedures to the extent that it did not risk the patient nor hinder the successful performance of the procedures. In category 2, the patients were kept motionless during painless and noninvasive procedures. In category 3, the patients were kept motionless during painful and invasive procedures with the addition of local anesthetic. In category 4, the patients remained motionless throughout their painful or invasive procedure without the use of local anesthetics. There were 32, 10, 156 and 103 sedations in each category, respectively. Conscious sedation (CS) was observed in six sedations (19%) in category 1 of immobility; it was observed in none (0%) in category 2, in 4 sedations (2.6%) in category 3, and in 1 sedation (1%) in category 4. Deep sedation (DS) was noted in 26 category 1 sedations (81%), in 10 category 2 sedations (100%), in 136 category 3 sedations (87%), and in 63 category 4 sedations (61%). General anesthesia (GA) was only observed in categories 3 and 4 in 16 sedations (10%) and 39 sedations (38%), respectively. Intravenous (IV) ketamine, as a single agent or in combination with other agents, was the most frequently used sedative (88%) followed by IV benzodiazepines (64%), propofol (39%), opiates (15%), and barbiturates (5%). A total of 59 (19%) adverse events were encountered during the 301 sedations. In categories 1 and 2, no adverse event (0%) was encountered. In category 3, 19 adverse events took place (32%), and 40 adverse events (68%) (P< 0.05) occurred in category 4.Pediatric sedation results in 4 categories of immobility. Complete immobility during painful and invasive procedures is associated with a higher incidence of adverse events. The depth of sedation (ie, CS, DS, or GA) required to achieve each category of immobility is unpredictable and varies from patient to patient. Thus, granting a limited sedation authority (conscious sedation only) to physicians may be of limited practical value.