MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. It is a type of scan that uses a magnetic field to take pictures of the inside of the body.
How to prepare my child for an MRI
We suggest that you start talking to your child a few weeks before their scan appointment. Explain what will happen and encourage them to ask questions and tell you their worries. It can help to remind them that...
How to prepare my child for an MRI:
We suggest that you start talking to your child a few weeks before their scan appointment. Explain what will happen and encourage them to ask questions and tell you their worries. It can help to remind them that:
- MRI scans are safe and do not hurt. The scanner will not touch them.
- The scanner machine is very loud when it is working (like roadworks). The noise may even cause the bed to shake a bit. This is normal and means that the machine is working.
- Most scanners have a call button that they can press if they are very upset during the scan. This will let the grown-up know to stop the scanner and check that they are OK.
- It is really, really important to lie as still as possible during the scan - it can really help to practise doing this at home before they come to hospital.
How to make your own MRI scanner at home:
You will need:
- A magnet
- Something to lie under – a big cardboard box, a toy tunnel or even a chair or sofa
- A mat or towel
- A friend or grown-up
- Wooden spoons or drumsticks
- Pots and pans, bells and whistles
What you do:
1. Make your scanner machine – your MRI scanner needs to be something you can comfortably lie under with your head underneath. It doesn’t matter if your feet are poking out at the end. You might have a big enough cardboard box you could use, otherwise a chair or sofa will work.
2. Make your scanner bed – put your mat or towel in your scanner tunnel. This is your special scanner bed. Remember, you are going to have to lie still for a long time so make sure it's comfy!
3. Check for metal – use a magnet (a simple fridge one will do) to check to see if you have any metal on you. A magnet will stick to anything metal. Remember, we can’t let anything metal in our MRI scanner!
4. Lie down in your scanner – lie down on your scanner bed. Your head should be in the scanner “tunnel” but it doesn’t matter if your feet are poking out. Remember, you are going to lie still for a very long time so get comfortable!
5. Start the scan – when you are ready, ask your friend or grown-up to “start the scan”. The scanner makes a lot of loud banging noises when it is turned on – a bit like very noisy roadworks. This is normal and means that the machine is working. Ask your friend or grown-up to start making lots of noise – banging the pots and pans and playing bells and whistles.
6. Stay as still as you can – it’s really important to stay as still as you can during an MRI scan. This can be tricky with the loud noise. Can you stay still with all that banging? See how long you can stay still for – ask a grown-up to time you. What might help you stay still for longer? Some children find counting their breaths or imagining their favourite place helps.