Cartoons and toys can be helpful for kids facing surgery

Anxiety lowest in waiting rooms with cartoons

BALTIMORE - Having surgery is stressful enough for anyone.  When kids are the ones facing an operation, the experience can be frightening.  

New research suggests watching a favorite cartoon can reduce children's anxiety just before they receive anesthesia and undergo surgery.  The study looked at children ages 3 to 7 undergoing routine surgical procedures, such as tonsillectomy. 

According to Health Day News, anxiety scores in the waiting area were lowest among the children who played with a favorite toy.

After being moved to the operating room, anxiety scores were lowest for the children who watched their favorite cartoon. Watching cartoons may reduce anxiety by distracting children, the researchers said. They noted that anxiety before surgery can be a major problem, causing emotional trauma for both children and their parents. In some cases, the study authors said, anxiety before surgery can lead to lasting behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, aggressiveness and nightmares.

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