Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

As Kids' CT Scans Rise, So Do Radiation Worries

More Kids Getting More Scans at ERs, but Few See Pediatric Radiologists

More Kids Getting CT Scans continued...

The most common reasons for CT scans of children were head injury, headache, and abdominal pain. Over the last four years of the study:

  • 20% to 34% of child ER visits for head injury resulted in a CT scan.
  • 20% to 28% of child ER visits for headache resulted in a CT scan.
  • 15% to 21% of child ER visits for abdominal pain resulted in a CT scan.
  • 18% to 32% of child ER visits for convulsions resulted in a CT scan.
  • 25% to 43% of child ER visits for fainting resulted in a CT scan.
  • 20% to 40% of child ER visits for flank pain resulted in a CT scan.

CT rates for children with abdominal pain increased more than did CT scans for headache or head injury. That may be increasing U.S. kids' overall radiation exposure, as abdominal CT scans expose kids up to seven times more radiation than do head CT scans.

The findings "underscore the need for special attention to this vulnerable population to ensure that imaging is appropriately ordered, performed, and interpreted," Larson and colleagues conclude.

What can parents do? According to the Radiological Society of North America, parents should talk with the doctor ordering a pediatric CT scan -- or with the radiology physician -- about:

  • Whether the scan will result in a clear medical benefit.
  • Using the lowest amount of radiation based on the child's size.
  • Scanning only the area of the body indicated by the child's symptoms.
  • Avoiding multiple scans.
  • Using alternative imaging techniques such as ultrasound or MRI.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration