How can I explain to my child what happens during a CT scan?

To explain to your child what happens during a computerized tomography (CT) scan, you can tell him or her the following:
  • You will go to the CT scan in a wheelchair or on a bed with wheels.
  • When you get to the room where your pictures will be taken, the nurse will help move you to the bed that slides in and out of the CT camera.
  • The camera looks like a big doughnut with a hole in the middle. The bed will slide into the hole when it is time for your pictures.
  • The bed sometimes has a cloth seatbelt, just like in a car, to keep you safe.
  • Having your pictures taken will not hurt and nothing will touch you.
  • A CT scan takes about five to 15 minutes. You may hear a soft humming sound when the camera is working.
  • You may need to drink some special medicine called contrast. This medicine helps your doctor see the pictures of your body better that were checked with the camera.
  • The special medicine or contrast may also be given through your intravenous (IV) line.
  • The radiology technologist taking the pictures will be able to see you and talk to you during the procedure.
This content originally appeared on the Alliance for Kids website.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.