Preparing Your Child for a CT scan
On this page, you will find information to share with your child about getting a CT scan, written in terms Child Life Specialists believe children can easily understand.
What is a CT scan?
- CT stands for Computed Tomography
- These scans take pictures of different parts of the body
Why it's important to have a CT scan:
- "The doctors want to take some pictures of (specific body part) to help see what might be making you feel bad, hurt, etc."
Your job during the CT scan:
- It is very important to hold still so that the pictures come out clear.
What happens when having a CT scan?
- You will go to CT scan in a wheelchair or on a bed with wheels.
- When you get to the room where your pictures will be taken, the nurse will help move you to the bed that slides in and out of the CT camera.
- The camera looks like a big doughnut with a hole in the middle. The bed will slide into the hole when it is time for your pictures.
- The bed sometimes has a cloth seatbelt, just like in a car, to keep you safe.
- Having your pictures taken will not hurt and nothing will touch you.
- A CT scan takes about 5-15 minutes. You may hear a soft humming sound when the camera is working.
- You may need to drink some special medicine called contrast. This medicine helps your doctor see the pictures of your body better that were checked with the camera.
- The special medicine or contrast may also be given through your IV.
- A parent may also be present during the CT scan, but will need to wear a lead apron.
- The radiology technologist taking the pictures will be able to see you and talk to you during the procedure.
Things that can help when having a CT scan:
- Listening to music
- Using your imagination: think about being in a castle or in outer space
- Discussing what will be helpful to you and your child