- The day before the test
- On the day of the test
- During the test
- Getting your results
- Questions or concerns
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive way to take pictures of structures inside the body. This test is like an x-ray, but does not involve any exposure to radiation. These pictures are used by doctors to look at the healthy functioning of your child's internal structures.
Because this is a test that requires your child to lay still and quiet for about 30 to 45 minutes, we ask that you do the following to prepare your child for the MRI:
The day before the test
- Please keep in mind that children's fears are different from adults. Most children do not experience claustrophobia (the fear of closed spaces). They are more concerned about the noise of the machine and having to lay still.
- Help your child practice laying still. One useful activity is Pretend MRI:
Using a coffee table at home, drape a blanket over it with your child laying underneath. Make some type of noise (for example, banging on the table; running the vacuum cleaner, etc.). Each time you practice, have your child lay still for longer periods of time.
- Allow your child to ask questions before, during, and after the experience. We want them to understand the testing process and feel confident and secure.
On the day of the test
What to bring
- Music CD or tape, or an audiobook (book on tape): your child can listen to it during the MRI. The MRI scanner makes a lot of noise. This can help reduce the level of noise.
- Your child's favorite blanket or special stuffed animal. Make sure it contains no metal parts.
- Arrive early for your appointment if your child will be receiving contrast as a part of their test (You will be notified if contrast is involved). The MRI technicians can apply some numbing cream that helps children tolerate the needle poke for the contrast.
Food and medication
- Feed your child before the test. A hungry child will have a hard time laying still for the length of the test.
- If your child is taking medication for ADHD, please make sure you give it to them the day of his or her MRI.
Comfort and safety
- Remove any metal from your child, such as earrings, necklace, watch, or hair–ties.
- Have your child go to the bathroom before testing.
Other children / siblings
- Please arrange for care of your other children. They will not be allowed in the testing area, and we do not have child care providers on-site.
During the test
- You may stay in the MRI room with your child for the duration of their test.
- You may talk with your child while they are being positioned for the MRI. This can be soothing and help calm your child.
- Please stop talking when testing begins. Children are likely to respond by talking or nodding their head. Movement of this kind can impair the test.
- If your child is having a hard time not interacting with you, feel free to leave the testing area.You can take a walk, or get something to eat or drink.
After the test
- Please do not plan other commitments just after the time of testing. Most tests take about 30 to 45 minutes, but they can take longer. The test cannot be rushed.
Getting your results
- It may take several days before results are available. No results will be given the day of testing.
- Reports will be sent directly to your child's doctor.
Questions or concerns
If you would like more information about preparing your child for MRI, please contact the Child Life Program at (603) 650-8831.