Preparing Children for Their MRI Scan

MRI is stressful even in the best of times, so bringing a child into an MRI unit can be less than fun. Here are some tips to prepare your child for the upcoming experience.

Telling Your Child

The age of your child will determine when to talk to him or her about the upcoming MRI. Children 11 years and older can know about it weeks ahead of time, whereas with small children it would be best to wait until a day or two before. Children at two years or younger can be told on the way to the appointment.

When speaking with your child about the MRI appointment, be sure to use clear words and straightforward imagery.

Preparing Before the Appointment

Traditional MRI scans can take anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes, however the average is 30 minutes. During this time, your child may be able to listen to music or watch a movie, depending on the facility. If this is the case, bring your child’s favorite music or movie to help pass the time. You may have to ask your doctor if you want to use your own headphones.

For young children, you may have them pick out a blanket or a favorite stuffed animal to have with them during the appointment. Just make sure these items don’t have any metal on them.

If needed, your child’s doctor may have them fast for a certain period before the MRI. Be sure your child eats something right before the fasting period begins.

During the Appointment

On the day of the appointment, be sure you have everything your child needs. Be sure any metal is removed from your child. Any belts, jewelry, hair clips, and any clothing containing metal in any way need to be left at home. MRI machines use a strong magnetic field and any metal brought near the machine will fly into the tube and get stuck. This can be an especially painful situation for any piercings. To keep your child safe, leave all metals at home.

During a traditional MRI scan, parents weren’t able to be in the same room with the child. In an open MRI, parents are allowed to sit with their child and even hold their hand. This is due to the open design of the machine as opposed to the closed, claustrophobic tunnel of a traditional MRI. With the recent advancements of open MRI, scan times are faster and the process provides an overall better experience, making it easier on your child during their appointment.

A lot of medical procedures can be scary to kids, but through proper preparation, your child will get through it in good fashion.

Does your child need an MRI? Contact Medical Express Imaging at (864) 990-2987 to make your appointment today.