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Practical Strategies to Ease MRI Scan Anxiety in Children

A cute little patient looking at one of radiographers while lying on medical table before mri scan examination.
Anderson Team
February 15, 2024
Est. Reading: 4 minutes

Does your child require an MRI scan but is too anxious and uncooperative? We understand that. As a parent, you might want to make this experience as smooth as possible for them.

In this guide, we shall break down the MRI process and offer easy tips to help your little one stay calm. With these ideas, you will turn a seemingly scary diagnostic test into an exciting quest for health and knowledge.

The first step is to explain the MRI scan in a way that helps your child understand the process and know what to expect.

A Kid-Friendly Guide to Understanding the MRI Scan

An MRI scan can either be an exciting or scary experience for young children, especially if it is their first time.

To ease the anxiety, you can:

  • Encourage your child to imagine the MRI machine as a big camera that can see inside their body.
  • Explain that it will be slightly noisy and that your child should remain still for a while.
  • Assure them they are in good hands, and the test helps keep them strong.
  • Introduce the MRI idea with kid books or videos.
  • Teach them to practice lying still and make it fun.
  • Show them pictures or a toy MRI to help them get it.

With these fun strategies, the MRI can change from a scary procedure to a cool science adventure.

If possible, visit an MRI scan centre before the scan. It is safe, pain-free, and helps doctors keep your kid well. A trip to the scan centre will help them understand that the procedure is safe and painless.

Here are some more tips to make the scan a smooth and hassle-free experience for your child:

Tips to Help Kids Stay Still During an MRI Scan

To help your kid stay still, turn practice into a game like "statue time." Teach them to breathe deeply, which calms them down. The better they get at remaining still, the less scary the MRI will seem.

Helping Kids Get Used to MRI Scan Sounds

The noises from an MRI can be loud and weird. Getting used to them before the scan can calm your child. Play MRI sounds from the internet for them. This lets them know what to expect. Tell them the noises are normal and the machine is safe.

Using Comfort Items and Support During a Child MRI

Allow your child to bring their favourite toy or blanket to the centre. It will help ease their anxiety and mentally prepare them for the procedure. Above all, your presence and reassurance are vital in calming your child. Even small gestures like hand-holding help. You can also try distracting them with music or stories of their choice. These little steps make a big difference in their comfort during the MRI.

Easing MRI Scan Anxiety and Claustrophobia in Kids

A claustrophobic child will likely feel more anxious in an MRI scan setting. In such cases, enacting a pretend MRI or visiting the actual MRI room before the real scan can make the process less stressful and scary for the child.

Teach them to breathe slowly to relax. Imagine a happy place with them, like a fun park or snuggling with a toy. These ideas can distract and calm them during the scan.

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Ensuring Child Comfort- What to Expect During the MRI

On the scan appointment day, knowing what happens helps calm nerves. Here is what to expect:

  • Your child will go to the MRI room and lie on the table, which slides into the machine.
  • The scan procedure consists of several stages, each a few minutes long, and the entire scan takes 20 to 30 minutes.
  • The medical team will be there to help and comfort your child.

Knowing the steps and having a caring team can help your child feel more confident. This makes it easier if they need to stay still for a long time or if they need medicine to help them relax.

Understanding Sedation and Safety During a Child’s MRI

Sometimes, kids might require medicine to help them stay still and calm for the MRI. This is common for little ones or if the scan is long. To prepare your child, you must follow a few steps, such as refraining from eating for a certain period.

The team will watch your child closely during the scan. After, they will make sure your kid is okay before going home. You can trust that they are safe while you wait for the results.

Post MRI - Interpreting Results and Planning Next Steps

After the MRI, there are important steps to understand the results:

  • A radiologist observes the images and writes a report.
  • They send the report to your child's doctor.
  • You will talk to the doctor about what comes next.
  • Doctors will decide the best care for your child based on the diagnostic results.

Mastering Serenity: Navigating a Diagnostic Atmosphere With Kids

At Anderson Diagnostics & Labs, every MRI is a step toward your child's health. Our MRI scan centre has the latest diagnostic facilities and a well-trained team to ensure accurate results.

Now that you have helped your kid through the scan, it's time to meet your child’s doctor to talk about the results and plan for their health. Together, they will figure out the next steps with care and confidence.

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