These days, parents have a lot more choices for their children’s medical care. This includes where to take your child for the safest imaging scan. As children grow, their cells are dividing faster, making them more at risk from radiation. When an adult hospital uses X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans, a child’s smaller size may mean his body is exposed to as much radiation as a grown-up.
Take your child or teen to a place that knows how to provide scans as safely as possible. We have worked hard to reduce radiation exposure by as much as 50 percent for some scans by:
- Following Image Gently and ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) guidelines for reducing radiation exposure among young patients.
- Basing doses on the body part being scanned, the number of recent scans and the patient’s weight.
- Using special bismuth shields to help reduce radiation exposure to sensitive body parts.
- Investing in special software, called ASiR, on all our CT scanners to lower radiation doses. This software takes images that would normally be too hazy to read and makes them clearer without using more radiation.
All the special technology in the world is not going to keep your toddler or teen from getting anxious during his first CT scan. That is why:
- Our child life specialists can help calm a child without using sedation or anesthesia.
- If your child is too nervous, our pediatric-trained sedation specialists are available for a patient who must hold still for a long time, is young or is scared of small spaces.
- Our radiologists and technologists are recertified on pediatric-specific guidelines once a year.
- We use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound whenever possible because these do not use radiation.
- Our technologists have additional certifications from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists in their specialty area, such as CT. This means our technologists are familiar with the latest techniques.
If your child ever needs an X-ray or CT scan, ask your child’s doctor for a referral to Children’s.
Facts from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Learn more about CT safety.