If your child needs an MRI, it's probably causing you some distress. It's important to remember that the procedure may be causing your child some distress as well. Regardless of their age, you need to make sure that their distress is alleviated before the procedure is performed. Being relaxed on the day of their MRI will help the process go smoothly. Here are four steps you can take to help your child prepare for their MRI.
Choose the Time Wisely
If your child is like most, they have certain times of the day when they're more alert and in a better mood. When scheduling the MRI, try to take that information into consideration. For instance, if you know your child is usually in a cranky mood during the late afternoon, avoid scheduling the MRI during that time. Try to aim for a time when your child is usually in a good mood, not hungry, and ready to lay down for a nap. This applies for older children as well. Teenagers can get moody mid-afternoon, too.
Let Them Choose a Security Item
If your child has a special blanket or stuffed animal that tends to calm them down, try and arrange for them to keep that item with them during the test. In some cases, small items can be held onto, as long as they don't interfere with the test results and don't contain any metal parts. If it's not possible for them to keep their security item with them, let them hold it until the test begins and then take it. Assure them that you'll be in the room holding their item until the test is over.
Make Sure They're Well-Informed
If your child is old enough to ask questions about the procedure, be sure to answer those questions truthfully. If your child is concerned about the process, arrange for them to have a test run. Some facilities allow kids to take a practice run through the MRI machine so that they can get a feel for the procedure prior to their appointment. There are also educational videos that will teach your child about the MRI. These videos help kids understand what they'll be going through and will familiarize them with the sights and sounds they'll be exposed to during their MRI.
If your child is particularly apprehensive about the procedure, you should talk to their doctor about sedation. Sedation will ensure that your child is able to have their MRI without the distress associated with fear and anxiety. Your doctor will determine if sedation is a viable option for your child.