Preparations for the Visit

What to expect at your MRI!

MRI FAQs for Parents

What is an MRI scan?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, is an imaging technique that uses a magnetic field to take pictures of structures in the body. We’ll be using it to take pictures of your child’s brain to see how it changes throughout development.

Is MRI safe for kids?

Yes! MRI is a harmless procedure as long as your child does not have any metal in or on his/her body. We take extra caution to ensure that your child is safe before entering the scanner. In addition to MRI Safety Screening questions, we will use a metal detection device like the ones you see in airport security. The MRI scanner uses magnets to take pictures and does not involve any radiation or X-rays.

What can I expect during our MRI visit?

Your child’s MRI visit will last up to 2 hours. The first half hour will be for preparation, which includes training on the game they’ll play in the scanner and practicing getting into a mock scanner. After that, we’ll head to the scanner and make sure all metal has been removed from their body and clothing. We’ll then set your child up in the scanning suite and get started with the scan. The scan should last about an hour. You will be done with your visit as soon as the scan has completed.

What will my child do during the MRI?

Your child will need to lie very still on a bed which moves into the scanner. Our team will set your child up with pillows and blankets, and there will be games and videos for your child during some portions of the scan. We’ll also check in with them regularly to make sure they are still comfortable.

Can my child leave the scanner if they need to go to the bathroom or are uncomfortable?

Yes! Your child’s comfort is our top priority! Your child will be able to communicate with us at all times while in the scanner.

Who will be with my child while they are in the MRI?

A member of our research team will sit in the scanning suite with your child for the duration of the scan. Our MRI technicians will give you periodic updates throughout the scan. If you prefer, you may accompany your child in the scanning suite, as long as you are safe to do so.

How can I prepare my child for the MRI?

We have a video posted on our website that you can show your child in the days leading up to the scan. The video shows them what the MRI machine looks like and introduces them to our team members who they might meet at the scanner. If any concerns come up that are not addressed here or in the video, be sure to call us. A member of our study team would be happy to discuss any concerns you or your child may have.

What should be worn during an MRI?

For safety reasons, it’s important that your child (and you, if you plan to join them in the scanning suite) wear clothing that is free of metal during the MRI. Standard zippers on pants or jeans are fine, but other items, such as underwire bras or sweaters with a metal zipper, will need to be removed before entering the scanning suite.

The scanning suite can get chilly at times, so we encourage comfortable and warm clothing!

I have other questions or concerns not covered here.

You can call or text our study team at 949-629-5043, and we’d be happy to discuss your concerns!