Know Before You Go: Kids

What is a CT scan?

A CT scan is a large, circle shaped camera that uses x-rays to take pictures of the inside of your body. Some kids say it looks like a donut.  

What will happen during my CT?

A member of the care team will ask you your name and birthdate then walk you to the CT room.  You will lie on the bed when it is time for your pictures.  A seatbelt will be placed over your stomach for safety like your seatbelt in the car.  Soft pillows may be placed next to your ears and a strap may be placed over your forehead if the camera is taking pictures of your head.  These are to help remind you to hold super still.

Before moving into the camera you may see red lights shine on your face and body.  This helps make sure you are in the right spot to get your pictures taken.

The bed will move into the center of the camera when your pictures are being taken.  This may happen 2-3 times.  The camera will never touch you or hurt you.

The camera spins inside the machine when taking your pictures and you will hear a humming noise, like the sound of a washing machine.  You may also hear a voice giving you instructions about holding your breath.  This helps the pictures turn out clear so try your best to follow them. 

Know Before You Go: Parents

Helpful Info

In most cases, caregivers are able to remain in the room during their child’s CT scan. If you are pregnant, you will need to step out during the scan.  Your child may bring comfort items from home, such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. The CT technologist or child life specialist will inform you of additional ways you can support your child during their scan on the day of your appointment. 

Important notes

Depending on the protocol of your child’s CT scan, he/she may be required to drink oral contrast and/or have an IV placed. If you would like more information about your child’s scan or would like to speak to a child life specialist to discuss your child’s coping during this appointment, please call 314.454.6139. Your CT technologist can also page Child Life the day of your appointment for additional support. 

Practice Tips

  • Talk to your child about going to the hospital to get pictures taken of his/her body
  • Have your child practice lying as still as a statue. Use a timer to see how long they can lay still; increase the time as your child is successful. Most CT scans take less than 5 minutes.
  • Discuss what your child can do during the CT scan: watch a show on the iPad, look at the lights in the camera, think about his/her favorite place or what they want to do when they leave the hospital