When your child thinks they might have broken a bone, of course you rush them to the ER to get an X-ray. But are X-rays safe on your little one? Now that you have time to really ask yourself this question, here is some research that may help you feel safe in your decision.
A study by the American Heart Association Journal found that the radiation emission from standard X-rays is low and does not increase lifetime cancer risks for most children. The study also found that there is higher exposure to radiation in the ‘average background radiation’ dose from things like cosmic radiation, radon in the air, and naturally occurring radioactive materials found in soil and building materials.
However, it is important to note that children with certain medical conditions, like heart disease, have a higher risk of developing cancer over their lifetime if they are given large doses of radiation.
The Question is: Are X-Rays Safe for Your Child?
- When possible, talk to your kid’s doctor before agreeing to an X-ray: Your child’s doctor knows your children’s medical history, so they can help you make a decision if you’re feeling uneasy. When you talk to the doctor, ask them about the potential risks versus the benefits of having an X-ray, or what could happen if multiple X-rays are performed on your child.
- Ask the radiologist about radiation dosage and procedures. Your child will usually require a lower dose of radiation than adults. And by asking questions, you may be able to avoid procedures that involve high radiation exposure that may not be necessary for your child’s case.
- Keep a record of your child’s radiology procedures. By keeping a record of all of your child’s radiology procedures, you can help your child’s doctor keep track of radiation dosage, especially if your child has a complex medical condition and receives large doses of radiation.