Help explaining sedated MRI to 5 year old — The Bump
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Help explaining sedated MRI to 5 year old

My DD is believed to have a genetic disorder associated with development of cardiomyopathy in adolescence.  She has undergone yearly echoes to monitor to her heart.  Now that she is getting older, the cardiologist wants to do a cardiac MRI because it is better for diagnosing cardiomyopathy.  It was recommended that children under 8 be sedated for the MRI and I know that my DD would be completely freaked out by the sounds and even without the noise, she would have a very difficult time staying still for the duration of the MRI if not sedated.

DD had a sedated MRI for other reasons when she was 7 months old, so I know the drill.  But I'm trying to figure out the best way to explain it to her.  She just had surgery in November and completely freaked out when it came time for anesthesia.  Obviously, the process is different with sedation, but I'm worried about her freaking out about being asleep.  Also, DD is unaware, as of now, about her potential heart issues.  I'm trying to figure out a very basic way to explain it to her without worrying her.  Her situation is a little odd in that she has no current heart problems and may (hopefully) never develop them.  She has a variety of dermatological issues, but is otherwise a very healthy little girl.   I do want her thinking that she's unhealthy when she's not.  But I still need a way of explaining why she gets this special procedure when her twin sister and friends do not.  

Thanks for your suggestions. 


[IMG][/IMG]Charlotte Corinne and Evelyn Sophia- 2/15/07[IMG][/IMG]

Re: Help explaining sedated MRI to 5 year old

  • That's really tough. When I was in college I worked for a pediatric dentistry and when we had to sedate kids we would give them a drink with the medicine in it. They would fall asleep and then it was just like they had taken a nap and woke up none the wiser. I'm not sure if you would be willing to do that, but maybe just tell her that they will have to take a picture with a big camera and then don't tell her about the sedation? When she wakes up you can tell her she took a nap. 

    Is she asking why she has this procedure while nobody else does? At this young age I wouldn't bring it up unless she does. As a teacher though I do find that at this age, kids readily accept what we tell them without thinking too much into it. The worries about the child being different and worrying about the ramifications usually come from the adults. Even when kids this age talk about these things to their friends, they usually aren't embarrassed about it, and it is readily accepted by their peers. Any questions they may ask are because they are curious, not because they are being judgmental. You'll do what works best for you and your family! 

  • We just went through general anesthesia for a dental issue - and I told my almost 5 year old that we were going to the dentist so that the doctor could fix his tooth.  (He had fallen and cracked a tooth) and that the doctor was going to give him medicine to help him take a nap, when the nap was over his tooth would be fixed and we would be able to go home.

    He was good with this explanation and cooperated nicely when it was time to go under - i will say the anesthesiologist we had was AMAZING so that was a huge help.

    In your case you could tell her that you have to go to the doctor so the doctor can take special pictures of her heart to make sure it is healthy.  In order for the doctor to take the pictures she will need to take a nap, but when she wakes up you will be there and you will be able to go home and she can have special treats.

    If she is old enough to understand that all kids are different and have different likes, needs, wants etc you could explain this procedure that way. 

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  • You might want to contact the child life specialists at the hospital. I'm sure they would have great suggestions. Good luck!
  • I didn't explain alot to my almost 4 year old when he had a sedated MRI last month.  I just said that they needed to take pictures of his brain... which we've talked about some before because he had an EEG.  I didn't explain more than that really.  They gave him a medication that made him really loopy before they took him back and by then he didn't care.  When he woke up he was pissed he had an IV, but otherwise did fine.  The biggest issue we had was the doctors came out to tell him "we're going to come get you to play in a few minutes"... they did and he was loopy but totally fine to go with him.  Well guess who was totally pissed when we got to the parking lot after and he didn't "get to play with those guys."  He was so mad.  


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