Medically reviewed by Dr. Jacob Jaremko, M.D, Ph.D., FRCPC

What is a Pediatric X-ray Exam?

Pediatric x-ray imaging uses ionizing radiation to create two-dimensional images of the inside of your child’s body. Different tissue absorbs different amounts of radiation, measured by a detector, and are combined to form x-ray images (radiographs). Dense structures like bone absorb more radiation than soft tissue like muscle, which is why bones appear as a light grey on an x-ray.

Is X-ray Safe for a Child?

In pediatric applications, technologists must adjust ionizing radiation to match the patient’s body composition. Developing cells in children are more sensitive to exposure, so it takes less radiation to capture an image of your child’s wrist than an adult’s spine.

Our team of technologists and pediatric radiologists will make sure your child’s doses are adjusted to ensure minimal exposure.

How Do I Prepare My Child for Their Pediatric X-Ray?

There is no specific preparation required for a pediatric x-ray. Your child will need to remove metallic objects like jewellery for their exam.

How Long Does a Pediatric X-ray Take?

Pediatric x-rays typically take between 5 and 30 minutes to complete. Your child’s age, interaction with our technologist, mobility, and area of interest can impact exam duration.

How Much Does a Pediatric X-ray Cost?

There is no cost for a pediatric x-ray so long as you have a valid Alberta Health Care card. We also accept out-of-province health care cards, except for Quebec. Many other health insurance providers also cover the cost for this exam. If you are unsure, you should reach out to our team or your insurance provider for confirmation.

What Happens After My Child’s Pediatric X-ray?

One of our radiologists will review your child’s images, create a detailed report, and send the results to your referring doctor – usually within 24 hours.

Pediatric X-Ray Protocol

Pediatric x-ray imaging is available at any MIC location and the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

The following exams have certain age or location requirements:

Pelvic Hip X-ray:

  • Age: 4 months or older
  • Location: MIC or Stollery

Scoliosis X-ray:

  • Age: 3-17
  • Location: Stollery only

What Happens During a Pediatric X-ray?

  • Your child must remove any jewellery and objects containing metal from the area of interest to help us capture the best images.
  • For example, if we are performing a wrist x-ray, they will need to remove bracelets, watches, rings, etc.
  • We may ask your child to change into a gown depending on the area of interest.
  • Our technologists will help guide your child into the best position for the x-ray.
  • Depending on exam specifics and mobility, we may ask them to lie on the x-ray table, sit or stand.

Learn More About Pediatric Imaging at MIC