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Policies and Preparation Tips for Parents and Guardians

At Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of tests ordered by your child’s doctor and invite you to  participate. Please read the following information about our policies regarding parents and guardians in the testing rooms and helpful hints for preparing your child for the experience.

Fast Facts About Our Parent and Guardian Policy

  • One parent or guardian is welcome to join your child in the testing room, unless otherwise noted by Department of Pediatric Radiology staff. All other adults and children must stay in the waiting area.
  • So that your child can have your complete support and attention during the test, we recommend that you arrange to have siblings cared for by another adult.
  • Some tests may require sedation (se-DAY-shun) in order for your child to remain completely still for the whole test. That means your child will be given medication that will make him or her sleep during the entire test. 
  • After sedation, one parent or guardian may stay in the recovery area with your child until the medication wears off and your child is discharged. 
  • You must follow all instructions given to you by the Department of Pediatric Radiology staff who will be doing the test.
  • Pediatric radiology doctors, nurses and technologists have the right to ask you to leave the testing room if you are disruptive to the point that the test cannot be done successfully.
  • If you refuse to allow your child to have or to complete a test, the Department of Pediatric Radiology staff will refer you to the doctor who ordered the test. The Department of Pediatric Radiology staff will not try to persuade you to complete the test. 
  • All tests will be performed according to Department of Pediatric Radiology guidelines.
  • You must leave the room for emergency procedures.

Purpose of Our Policy

This policy provides guidelines for taking the proper safety measures to protect parents and caregivers while they are in the examination room during their children’s tests.

General Imaging Tests Policy

Radiation is used during some tests, including general X-rays, fluoroscopy (barium enemas, esophagrams, barium cookie swallows, voiding cystourethrograms and upper gastrointestinal series), and CT scans.

Special precautions and rules apply to any tests that involve radiation: 

  • Women will be asked if there is any possibility that they might be pregnant before they are allowed into the testing room. 
  • Women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant should limit their exposure to radiation and should not be in the testing room during tests that involve radiation.
  • If you are pregnant or think that you might be, please bring another adult who can stay with your child during the tests involving radiation.
  • All parents and guardians—male and female alike—must wear protective lead aprons during radiographic/fluoroscopic and CT exams.

Interventional/Angiography Procedures Policy

Several special policies apply to interventional/angiography tests:

  • Only Department of Pediatric Radiology staff is permitted in the room during the test.
  • Once the test is ready to begin, your child will be taken into the testing room and you will be directed to the waiting area until it is completed. Mobile pagers are available to contact you if you would like to leave the Department of Pediatric Radiology during your child’s test.
  • Once the test is finished, a member of the Department of Pediatric Radiology staff will come to the waiting area to tell you when you can return to the room to be with your child.

Emergency Procedures Policy

  • Only the medical staff may be in the room with your child for emergency procedures. 
  • You will be directed to and asked to stay in the nearest waiting area.
  • You may join your child in the room after the emergency procedure is completed.

Ways To Prepare Your Child

The most important role of a parent or guardian during the test is to help your child stay calm and relaxed. The best way to help your child stay calm is for you to stay calm. Parents and guardians play a big role in the success of any radiologic test. Children are less anxious and more cooperative when they are prepared ahead of time for what they are going to experience.

Infants

Although you cannot explain the test to your baby, you can do the following to make your child feel more secure during the test:

  • Bring a “comfort” item, such as a favorite “blankie,” stuffed animal or pacifier. 
  • Comfort your child with your soft voice and gentle touch.

Toddlers and Preschool-Age Children

Children in this age range can be very anxious about having a test done. If your child is in this age group, the best time to explain the test is right before he or she has it done. Please use any of the test information sheets that are applicable and available either on the Department of Pediatric Radiology website or in the waiting area. The following also may be helpful for children in this age group:

  • Use simple words and be honest when telling your child what he or she will see, hear and feel.
  • Offer your child reassurance in a soft voice during the test.
  • Bring a “comfort” item, such as favorite “blankie,” stuffed animal, toy or book to hold.
  • Hold your child’s hand during the test as much as possible.

School-Age Children

Children in this age range have very good imaginations and may frighten themselves by imagining something much worse than the actual test. If your child is in this age group, the best time to explain the test is 1 or 2 days ahead of time. Please use the test information sheets that are applicable and available on the Department of Pediatric Radiology website. The following also may be helpful for children in this age group:

  • Give your child enough information about what he or she will see, hear and feel in language that your child can understand. Too many details may confuse your child even more.
  • Let your child ask you questions about the test and answer them honestly.
  • Hold your child’s hand during the test as much as possible.
  • Offer your child reassurance in a soft voice during the test.
  • Bring a “comfort” item, such as a favorite “blankie,” stuffed animal, toy or book to hold.

Adolescents

Children in this age range are very concerned with their bodies and appearance and now can think in abstract ways. If your child is in this age group, the best time to explain the test is up to a week ahead of time. Please use the test information sheets that are applicable and available on the Department of Pediatric Radiology website. The following also may be helpful for children in this age group:

  • Allow your child to read any information you may have on the test.
  • Let your child ask you questions about the test and answer them honestly.
  • Hold your child’s hand during the test as much as possible.
  • Offer your child reassurance in a soft voice during the test.

Questions

If you have any questions about these policies, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s Hospital or make sure you discuss them with the pediatric radiology doctor, nurse or technologist before the test.

Preparing your child beforehand, as well as comforting your child during the test, will help your child have a more positive experience. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to explain tests to children. If you have any questions about ways to prepare or support your child or feel your child will have difficulty during the test, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s and ask to speak with the child life specialist.
 
Department of Pediatric Radiology
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
One Children’s Hospital Drive
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
(412) 692-5500

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Last Update
April 12, 2010
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Last Update
April 12, 2010
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