How to Prepare Your Child for an X-ray

Pediatric X-rays are common, painless, and safe. Radiologists use the minimum amount of radiation to get the best results. X-rays are used to image bones, organs and other parts of the body to determine any number of illnesses, broken bones, or to locate foreign objects that might have been ingested. They can still be scary for children, so let’s provide some guidelines on how to prepare your child for an X-ray.

Physical Preparation

If your child is having the X-ray at an imaging site, have them wear loose comfortable clothing. The room will be cold to maintain the equipment so layers might be helpful. It is also possible they will be given a hospital gown to wear. This is because zippers, jewelry, hairpins, and clasps of any kind can affect the results.

Emotional Preparation

If you remain calm and reassuring, your child will be calm too.

It is best to explain what will occur in the simplest of terms. Explain it will not hurt, and it will only take a few minutes to take pictures of what is inside his body. If your child is old enough to understand what is going on, like an injury, broken bone, or pain, explain that the X-ray will give the doctors a picture of what’s wrong. 

Also explain that they will have to hold completely still for a few seconds while the pictures are being taken. Let them know they won’t be alone. You will be in the room with them, so you can help get them in the proper position to get clear images.

The technologist will go behind a screen to take the pictures and will let you know when to be still.

It might be helpful to tell older children what the images will look like. It will show bones as white and everything else as gray or black.

Sometimes a contrast solution might be needed to view X-rays like the heart, bladder, kidneys, or the digestive system. Ask the technologist how AND IF that is to be administered so you can prepare your child. It might be something to drink, given as an enema, or through a vein.

After the Imaging Test

If possible, plan to go somewhere fun after the X-ray like an ice cream shop or going to the park or a movie. This will give them something to look forward to.

Contact Alabama Coastal Radiology if you have any concerns prior to your child having an X-ray. Our diagnostic radiologists are all boar-certified by the American Board of Radiology and have extensive experience performing safe and accurate X-ray exams.