Who We Are

SmartTots is an IARS initiative to coordinate and fund research with the goal of ensuring safe surgery for the millions of infants and young children who undergo anesthesia and/or sedation each year. IARS works collaboratively with multiple stakeholders to leverage their collective resources in an effort to comprehensively address this important issue.

What We Do

Our purpose is to coordinate, support and fund research with the goal of making anesthesia and sedation safer for the developing brains of the over one million infants and young children who undergo anesthesia and sedation each year. We are guided by top experts in multiple fields, including anesthesiology, pediatrics, neuroscience, and epidemiology. Specifically, we facilitate and support studies of existing anesthetic drugs and their effects on childhood development. Drug type, dosage and number of exposures are studied to determine if particular anesthetic drugs pose hazards to young children. Findings from our research help practitioners adhere to the safest anesthetic regimes and potentially foster the development of new anesthetic drugs.

Why It Matters

Currently, major scientific and clinical knowledge gaps exist regarding the safe use of anesthetics and sedatives in children. Observational studies suggest that there is a link between the development of learning disabilities and behavioral deficits with the use of multiple anesthetics administered in infants and children prior to three years of age. Much more research is needed to definitively determine the risk. SmartTots is working with multiple stakeholders to coordinate and fund research that will address these gaps in knowledge. Findings from these research studies will establish new practice guidelines and, as necessary, new age-appropriate anesthetics, ultimately making anesthesia and sedation safer for children around the world.