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Niswonger Children's Hospital

Radiation Safety for Children

How much radiation is used?

Everyone is exposed to small amounts of naturally occurring background radiation from soil, rocks, building materials, air, water and cosmic radiation. The chart below compares the amount of radiation exposure from X-ray exams and CT scans to background radiation exposure.

What are the risks from medical radiation?

Although there is no conclusive evidence that radiation from X-ray exams or CT scans causes cancer, some studies of large populations exposed to radiation have demonstrated slight increases in cancer risk even at low levels of exposure, particularly in children.

How can we minimize radiation risk to my child?

  • Your child’s caregivers will take certain precautions to make sure your child is exposed to the smallest amount of radiation possible during an X-ray exam or CT scan
  • Use X-ray or CT only when there is a clear medical benefit
  • Use the lowest amount of radiation for adequate imaging based on the child’s size
  • Image only the indicated area
  • Avoid multiple scans
  • Use alternative studies (such as ultrasound or MRI) when possible

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