Are Pediatric X-Rays Safe for Kids? (The Short Answer: Yes!)

pediatric x-ray

We live in an age of fear and caution. It seems like every day, we are presented with something else that could potentially kill us.

One thing that has come under fire in recent years is the x-ray machine. This is especially true for pediatric x-rays.

How dangerous are these things, really? Do we have any reason to worry, or is this all just pseudoscientists freaking out, or reporters trying to sell a story?

We’ll answer these questions–read on to learn more.

How X-Rays Work

It is a known fact that x-rays operate using ionizing radiation. Simply put, the x-ray machine bombards the patient with x-rays, a form of ionizing radiation.

Ionizing radiation is a form of radiation that can interact with atoms as it hits them, creating ions.

Most of our bodies can’t absorb this type of light, so the light ends up passing through it. The exception is our bones.

Since our bones can absorb the light, we see it light up on the screen.

Are X-Rays Dangerous

Are x-rays dangerous? This is a pretty complex question, and the simple answer is no.

In the early days of radiation use, people did tend to get radiation sickness, or even die from exposure. Marie Curie is probably the most famous example.

This is because, at the time, we still didn’t know much about radiation.

We know now that radiation is a lot like cigarettes, alcohol, or fast food. It’s definitely a bad idea to use a lot of it, but small amounts won’t hurt you, and that’s just what an x-ray is.

Children and X-Rays

As a general rule, everybody should avoid x-rays that are not medically necessary. This is especially in the case of a pediatric x-ray.

Since their bodies have not grown to full size yet, radiation has a greater risk, it is believed, of affecting them. Too much radiation could potentially lead to cancer later in life.

That being said, there is good news. The good news is that the risk likely isn’t very big. Another use of radiation in medicine is CT scans.

CT scans allow doctors to examine a patient’s skull and brain. Compared to x-rays, CT scans use about 200 times as much radiation as a chest x-ray, so even if there is a risk of x-rays causing harm, it’s likely incredibly small.

If a CT scan is suggested, it’s best to make sure it’s absolutely necessary.

To add even more good news, doctors have become aware of the potential dangers of too much radiation. It is for these reasons that patients are often told to wear lead vests.

Lead is a dense material and has been shown, in some cases, to block roughly one-third of all radiation from x-rays.

What to Know About a Pediatric X-Ray

There’s a lot going around about the dangers of radiation, but for the most part, people are overreacting. When talking about children and pediatric x-rays, the risk is somewhat greater.

Truth be told, the best thing to do is talk to your doctors, and make sure they don’t do anything that isn’t medically necessary.

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