Toy-sized scanners help put pediatric imaging patients at ease

Children preparing for imaging procedures at Nelson Hospital in New Zealand are gaining a better understanding of their exams through play, using miniature models of MRI machines and CT scanners on their teddy bears, dolls and other toys.

“Kids speak play as their first language and if we want to communicate with them effectively, we have to use it,” said the facility’s pediatrician and chief medical officer Nick Baker, MD, as quoted by the Nelson Mail. “It not only reduces the child's distress but that of their parents and the staff.”

Diagnostic imaging tests can often be noisy, claustrophobic and scary for pediatric patients, but Baker hopes the toy-sized scanners can cut time spent getting patients comfortable around actual radiology equipment and reduce the need for anesthetics.

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