Doctors commonly use X-rays (also called radiography) to diagnose a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. Our team at Children’s Colorado may use X-rays to assess your child’s condition so we can provide the right treatment.
What is a pediatric X-ray?
An X-ray is a quick, painless test that uses small amounts of radiation to produce pictures of structures inside the body. X-rays are especially useful for looking at broken bones or pneumonia.
X-rays help doctors find causes of pain and disease, assess injuries and disorders, and locate foreign objects (like items a child swallows).
Your child may receive one or more of these types of X-rays:
- Chest X-ray: For conditions such as pneumonia, airway disease, or trauma to blood vessels or lungs
- Abdominal X-ray: For severe pain in the abdomen or lower back, stomach, constipation, or blockages
- Pelvic X-ray: To detect tumors or pelvic bone disease
- Bone X-ray: To diagnose fractures, dislocations, infections and unusual growths or tumors, and to guide surgeries like spinal repair
- Skull X-ray: For fractures, infections, sinus diseases, ventricular shunts (procedures that remove excess fluid from the brain) and other conditions
How should I prepare my child for a pediatric X-ray?
- Take time to talk with your child and explain the test.
- Reassure your child that they’ll be safe, comfortable and won’t feel any pain.
- You may want to bring a comfort item like a stuffed animal, toy or blanket.
- Your child should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
If you’re pregnant, you need to avoid X-rays, so please bring another adult to the hospital to support your child. Siblings and other children are not allowed in the exam room during the test, so please make arrangements for someone to stay with them.
What to expect during your child’s X-ray
Your child may feel nervous to get an X-ray, so it can help to know what to expect. Here’s what the procedure generally looks like:
Check in to the hospital
- Please arrive 30 minutes before your child’s scheduled X-ray.
- Bring a list of your child’s medicines and insurance card.
- We’ll give your child an identification bracelet to ensure they get the right test.
- A radiology technologist specialized in children talks with you and your child about the procedure and answers any questions.
- If you’re accompanying your child, you’ll need to put on a lead apron to protect from X-rays.
Take the X-rays
- We escort you and your child to the X-ray room.
- The technologist positions your child on the X-ray table and activates the X-ray machine.
- The X-ray quickly records an electronic image while your child lies very still.
- We may ask your child to lie on their side or stand up for more images.
- The exam is usually finished within 15 minutes, and the exposure to radiation usually lasts less than a second. We X-ray only the area we’re studying to avoid exposure to other areas of the body.
- This is a painless test.
What to expect after a pediatric X-ray
Your child can usually return to normal activities unless their doctor recommends otherwise.
If you have any questions and/or concerns, call the ParentSmart Healthline toll free at 1-855-KID-INFO (543-4636). Caring pediatric nurses are available 24/7 to help answer your health questions.
Why choose us for a pediatric X-ray
As a comprehensive pediatric hospital, Children’s Colorado specializes in kids’ unique medical needs. We offer:
- Expertise: Our skilled Imaging Services team cares for thousands of children every year. We have the training and experience to perform your child’s X-ray. Your child also gets age-appropriate support from our child life specialists, who specialize in putting kids at ease, if needed.
- Child-friendly equipment: We use X-ray machines with the least amount of radiation possible for your child, and we follow national guidelines to reduce radiation exposure.
- Convenience: We offer radiology, imaging and testing at several of our locations throughout Colorado. You can filter by specialty service, city or zip code to find the test you need closest to home.
Learn more and schedule a pediatric X-ray
For more questions or to schedule an X-ray, contact the Children’s Colorado general radiology scheduling line at 720-777-6541.