too much radiation exposure in kidsThe first large study on the use of medical radiation in children says that the average child will get more than seven radiation scans by age 18.

This figure has researchers and health officials concerned because repeated and prolonged exposure to radiation may significantly increase the risk of cancer.

Some of the common screening tests like X-rays use little radiation. But other imaging tests such as CT scans emit far more radiation can raise the risk of cancer. Dental x-rays were not included in the survey.

Should we, as parents, be concerned?

Dr. Adam Dorfman of University of Michigan Medical School, the lead author of the study, thinks so.   “Today’s children are undoubtedly getting many more of these studies than previous generations.”

The research shows that 42 percent of kids underwent one radiation procedure while 25 percent had two or three tests within a three year period. Eight percent had at least one CT scan and three percent had at least two.

Researchers are especially worried about radiation exposure of children since their tissues are more vulnerable. An earlier study shows that the risk of an infant developing cancer from a CT scan of the abdomen is eight times higher compared to a 50-year-old’s risk.

The important thing to note here is that radiation technology should be used properly, although this will prove to be challenging if physicians aren’t area of a patient’s previous scans.  As a parent, we should keep track of our kids and the various tests they have done.

Dorfman added:  “While I can’t say any given procedure was appropriate or inappropriate, I think as a whole we have to make sure when these studies are being used, they are used only when they are absolutely necessary.”


Maria Lianos-Carbone is Publisher/Editor of amotherworld. Follow her on Twitter @amotherworld and @lifeandtravelca.


  1. This is a kind of skewed stat. The radiation we and our parents went through was so much stronger so even if kids today have more procedures, the machines years ago were off the charts with radiation. My mother remembers x-ray machines in nurses offices at schools. Sometimes I think we are just looking for things to be afraid of. How many of these procedures are done because paranoid parents are insisting upon it? Maybe we should examine why the kids are having so many procedures involving radiation but my first thought with this is “Fear Mongering”.

  2. Lloyd Burrell Reply

    “I think as a whole we have to make sure when these studies are being used, they are used only when they are absolutely necessary.”
    Agreed, because sometimes an alternative diagnosis tool can be used, but you might have to travel to another facility to use it. Ultrasound, for instance, can sometimes be used instead of CT scans and it is far less dangerous.

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