Pediatric X-ray

What is an X-ray?

Doctors use X-rays more than any other form of imaging. X-rays are useful in diagnosing conditions such as fractured bones, pneumonia, bowel obstruction, and in locating foreign objects in the body.

To create an X-ray image we use invisible beams of energy that pass through the body. We use an X-ray machine that directs the rays at the part of the body to be examined. A camera will take the pictures of the part of the body that is being imaged. On the images, solid structures— which absorb the X-rays—show up white.

How can I help my child prepare for the exam?

No special preparation is needed for an X-ray. Your child may be asked to change into a gown when you arrive at the X-ray site. Please make childcare arrangements for siblings as they will not be allowed into the exam room.

Please note that if you are pregnant, you will not be allowed in the room during the exam and may wish to make arrangements to have someone else be with your child.

What will happen during the exam?

Depending on the part of the body to be examined, we will ask your child to lie on the X-ray table in a specific position or stand next to a large plate against a wall.

We will ask your child to be very still for several seconds while we make the image, and we may take more than one image of the part of the body being evaluated. An X-ray usually takes no more than a few minutes.

How can I help my child feel comfortable during the exam?

You can remain with your child in the imaging area during the exam to offer comfort and reassurance. We will ask you to wear a lead apron to protect you from unnecessary exposure to radiation. We can also arrange to have a child life specialist talk to your child about the exam.

Are there any risks?

Your child will be exposed to minimal doses of diagnostic radiation. The risk is small compared to the benefit of an accurate diagnosis or intervention.

After the test

Your child can immediately resume normal activities after the X-ray. A radiologist will analyze the X-ray images and share the results with the doctor who requested the exam, who will then discuss the results with you.