Capturing Children’s Imagination Through CT

A CT scan can be a scary procedure for people of all ages, but it’s particularly terrifying for younger children, not to mention much more difficult to perform. There are a few key difficulties with CT that play a role when it comes to doing scans on children.

1) The CT machine is scary. It’s a huge, humming tube that the child gets unwillingly placed inside of. It’s loud and it’s dark and it’s generally just a bit frightening.

2) Time of procedure. Although CT scans are significantly faster than MRI’s, they can still take up to half an hour to complete. That’s a long time to hold someone’s attention.

3) The patient needs to stay still. Sure, with CT the technology can handle a little more movement than an MRI machine can, but for the most part it’s still crucial that the patient remain still for the entire scan to ensure that the highest quality images are taken. That might not sound like such a difficult task for an adult, but asking a small child to remain completely still for an extended amount of time? Pretty much impossible.

Studies have found that an incredibly effective way to keep kids entertained and unafraid during CT scans is to simply be creative. Staff in several children’s hospitals have understood that in order to keep CT from being a scary experience for their younger patients, they need to find a way to make it fun.

They’ve taken to decorating the CT machines, and sometimes the whole room, so that it’s not as scary for children and the scanning experience feels a lot more like playing. Both parents and staff have found that these changes have had a huge impact on a child’s ability to be scanned without complication. Creativity is key in keeping fear at bay, and even as adults we’d love to be scanned in some of these awesome machines!


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