Tips For Preparing Your Child For An MRI

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An MRI is sometimes a necessary medical procedure, even for children. The trouble is that the traditional MRI – being sent into a large enclosed tube – can be frightening. It is also hard for children to hold still for the length of the imaging, which can last a half an hour or more depending on what is being imaged. The following tips can help you prepare your child for an MRI.

Tip #1: Opt for an open MRI

Find out if an open MRI is available in your area. These MRI machines are not fully enclosed like the more traditional models, which allows you to sit next to your child and give them reassurance throughout the imaging process. Your child may feel more relaxed if they can see you and if you can talk to them.

Tip #2: Bring a favorite book or two

If an open MRI is an option, bring along a few books. Pick calm, pleasant stories to read aloud to your child. Avoid anything that tends to make your child excitable, since they won't be able to react or move during the MRI. Old favorites that they know but still enjoy hearing may be the best option.

Tip #3: Practice before arriving

Lying still for a long time is hard for almost anyone, but especially for children. You may want to practice at home and make it into a game. Ask your doctor ahead of time how long they expect the MRI to last. Then, equip yourself with a timer and have "MRI races" with your child. For these races, you compete against each other to see who can lie still until the timer beeps.

Tip #4: Ask about comfort items

Your child may be able to bring in their favorite comfort item for the MRI if it doesn't contain any metal. For example, items like stuffed animals or favorite blankets may be allowed if they are completely made of fabric. Ask ahead of time if this is okay. Having a familiar object in the MRI tube can provide your child with a lot of comfort during stressful procedure.

Tip #5: Know and share the expectations

Before going in for the MRI, make sure your doctor is clear on what to expect. In many cases children are sedated for MRIs to ensure that they hold still, although this isn't always necessary for open MRIs since they are less stressful and tend to take less time compared to closed MRI devices. If your child will be sedated, talk over the process with them. For example, they will probably need an IV for the MRI, so you want to be sure your child understands what to expect so they don't get nervous when you arrive. Contact a business, such as Ramic Medical Imaging, for more information about preparing your child.