Can My Child Get An MRI?

As every parent would attest to, being a parent is the furthest thing from easy. Parents often find themselves in a never-ending loop of new situations, stress, and questions. This can be difficult for parents, especially when it comes to injuries and medical issues.

People need MRIs for many reasons that often involve soft tissue injuries, and children are not immune to such injuries. Just like everyone else, children often suffer injuries or symptoms that might require an MRI scan to reach a diagnosis. Accordingly, it is only natural for the question to arise for those parents who have children that might need an MRI for the first time:

So, can my child get an MRI?

The simple answer is yes. MRI scans utilize very powerful magnetic fields and high-frequency radio waves in order to provide detailed images of various things inside a patient’s body. MRI’s provide such detailed pictures by reading energy that is produced by water molecules after they realign themselves following each pulse of radio waves.

Because MRIs utilize magnetic fields and radio waves, there are no health risks for children associated with MRIs because they do not produce harmful radiation. Apart from that, MRIs only pose risks to children in regards to the possibility that they suffer an adverse reaction to any sedatives or IV contrasts due to allergies or kidney problems. While valid concerns to consider, these complications are very unlikely if you take the proper precautions and talk to your doctor about any relevant medical information.

How Can I Prepare My Child For An MRI?

MRI’s are generally considered to be very safe and easy procedures, but there are other factors that a parent should consider when their child needs an MRI. Most of these factors involve preparing your child for when they actually undergo the MRI.

It is no secret that MRI’s often require patients to remain still for an extended period of time, which can lead to children being uncomfortable or fidgety. It is absolutely crucial that the patient is still during the scan to ensure the image produced is detailed enough for analysis. This can be difficult for children, but preparing them for what they should expect can help. It is important to emphasize how painless an MRI is when explaining what to expect as that is often the child’s worst fear.  A tour of the facility will allow them the ability to actually see what to expect so they will be more comfortable on their exam day.

Depending on the age of your children, you should prepare them at different points before their appointment. You can use the following as a rough guide for when you should tell your children:

·       0-3 years old – Tell them on your way to the appointment.

·       3-5 years old – Tell them the day before their appointment, as well as on the way there.

·       6-10 years old – Tell them a few days before their appointment, but also remind them as the appointment gets closer.

·       11+ years old – You can tell them a week or two before their appointment.

While there is no definitive answer for what you should do to help your child feel as comfortable as possible, there are other things you might be able to do to help.  For instance, you can bring your child’s favorite toy or stuffed animal to lay down with during their MRI. Also, you can bring their favorite music along with headphones to help distract them from the loud noises. Furthermore, you can talk to your doctor about other suggestions.  

At the end of the day, it’s completely safe for your child to get an MRI. Since MRIs can be loud, long, and scary for children, we do our best to make your child as comfortable as possible during their MRI at our center.  If you need an MRI in Manhattan for your child, you can rest assured that they’re in the best hands here at Rosetta Radiology!