Professionals x-raying children either love it, or actively avoid it.

  1. Asking a 4-year-old child NOT to move is like trying to hold back a tsunami.
  2. Hoping to get the perfect hand series for a 2-year-old, who’s frightened and doesn’t understand what you are trying to achieve, is unrealistic. 


The following tips are complements of Children’s Hospital — Oakland, CA.


Introduce yourself.

Become a real person to the patient and family, not just a rad tech. Children associate scrubs with pain and the technologist must get past that as soon as possible.


Create trust. 

Let the child know right away what you are going to do and that it will not hurt.


Specific ways to develop trust include:


Use a demonstration doll.

With young children, use a doll to show them exactly what will happen and how the x-ray will take place. Kids think this is great and can’t wait to take the place of the doll.



Show the patient what the procedure will entail and let the child act it out first. Make it a game and it will seem like a fun challenge.


Be fast.

There is a short window of opportunity to get the examination done as quickly as possible to reduce potential trauma for the child.


Prepare in advance.

Have everything set up before you bring the child into the x-ray room. Be especially cognizant of gonadal shielding.


Distract the child.

Use age–appropriate creative sounds and objects to distract younger children when they are on the table.


Sing songs.

Even small children respond because they enjoy music.


Wear funny things.

Funny headgear can make the procedure and environment less hostile. Be aware that some masks can traumatize the little patient.


Be the example.

Use yourself as the demonstration doll showing the slightly older child with your armor foot exactly what you need them to do.


Count down.

Enlist the slightly older child into the procedure by making a game of how long it will take. See how high or low you will have to count to complete the exam.


Smile a lot and laugh when possible.

Make light of a tough situation to help the child feel that the process is going to be OK.


Have patience.

Remember that children may be in pain, yet unable to communicate it the ways we adults do.


Working with children can be very rewarding if you can handle the pressure of speed combined with patience. The rewards come when you have talked a child through a fearful situation or shown the child that he or she can have fun.

Contact ACRRT

American Chiropractic Registry
Radiologic Technologists

52 W. Colfax Street
Palatine, Illinois

Telephone: 847.705.1178


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