22 answers

MRI - Anyone's Child Had One?

My 10 mos. old son will need an MRI around 1 yr. Has anyone's baby/child had an MRI where sedation was required and how did it go? Thank you!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My son has had quite a few MRIs he still gets them every year. He had sedation the first couple of times. The hardest part is always the IV.

My now 7 year old had an MRI at about 5 months old and everything came out just fine however do not get scared when they put him to sleep, it happens in a matter of second literally. Good Luck!

More Answers

My son is 2 months and he his having his first mri on his head n neck due to a slight lazy eye n small pupil, he is gonna be sedated, im worried about that and plus juss found out bout the iv reading what some if you have written.....any advice?

My daughter has had 2 so far, she is 28 months now. It is scary, but they will get thru it just fine. They did sedate her, so she couldnt eat that morning. We just gave her lots of love - and her favorite tv show that morning, made for a good distraction. Make sure your appt is early in the morning. She was fussy the rest of the day, but the next day she was herself again. Good luck!

My daughter had an MRI done earlier this year (she was 21 months at the time) and they actually put her out using gas and put the IV in after she was out. It was very scary to watch her little body go limp but the person who was administering the anesthisia told me everything to expect before hand so it wasnt as scary. i think the hardest part for me was that she couldnt eat or drink anything before the procedure and then when she came out and was waking up she kept coughing and i could smell the gases they used for the whole day after it was really nauseating so i can imagine what my poor baby was going through I am so glad it is over with. We went to Kaiser in SF. It really went fast and wasnt as bad as i had imagined but no one wants to see there lttle one scared so that is also very hard just keep your spirits up our children can feel our tension so try to not be worried (i know easier said than done). Good Luck.

My son has had multiple MRI's and he is going to be 7 months old. Depending on the reason for the MRI your son might need to have a contrast in his system for the MRI. The first time this was done my son had a slight reaction and there was a little redness in his urine. Eventually it turned pink and then within a few hours it was gone completely. If this happens just watch it and then make sure it goes away within a few hours. I hope all is well and good luck. Let me know if you have any other q's/concerns I can help you with.


My son has had quite a few MRIs he still gets them every year. He had sedation the first couple of times. The hardest part is always the IV.

Hi J.,

My 10 year old son is a pro at MRI's. He has had so many we have lost count. He used to be sedated but know goes with out sedation. It can be a little scary when they firt go out but they come out fine. Sometime my son would wake up a little nausea, but it depends on what they use. Usually after a nap he would be back to normal. Your son is little now but if he has more as he gets older make sure you explain to him what is going on. If you are at a Childrens Hopsital generally they have Child life specialist who have pictures and dolls that can explain it to them on there level.

My 13 year old son had one last year (as well as a million other tests) and it went fine. Because he was older he didn't need sedation, but don't worry about radiation, like the other mom said it's a non-issue. My son was put under when he was about 9 months for surgery, it's scary, but he got through it just fine.

My daughter had a CAT scan at 9 months, I held her while she fell asleep with sedation. It is an odd feeling and they sometimes fight it, but they do sleep and all was fine when she woke up. Good luck, I hope everything is OK.

Hi J. - First, Wendee below says that MRIs are radiation and unsafe at lengths longer than 2 minutes - this is absolutely incorrect. The National Library of Medicine says "Unlike x-rays and computed tomographic (CT) scans, which use radiation, MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves." Depending on what part of the body you need pictures of, MRIs often take 30-45 minutes. NLM explains, "Several sets of images are usually need, each taking 2 - 15 minutes. Depending on the areas being studied and type of equipment, the exam may take 1 hour or longer." See http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003335.htm

My daughter had to have an MRI at 9 months old, and I know how stressful it is - both because of the sedation and because of concerns about whatever it is you're doing the MRI to assess for. My thoughts are with you!

For our daughter, the MRI itself went very, very well - we were terribly nervous about sedation and her reaction to the whole thing, but really the anticipation and waiting during the procedure were worse than any effects on the baby. We had it done at Kaiser Oakland and the nurse and pediatric anesthesiologist we had were very kind and understanding of our nervousness, and very gentle with the baby. I was allowed to go in with my baby while they gave her some nitrous oxide (gas via a mask over the nose/mouth) - that part was kind of hard because my baby was calm until the mask came toward her, then she started crying/fussing a bit. The gas works quickly to put them to sleep. Then I left and they inserted the IV for the sedation drugs. I was very glad they used nitrous oxide first, so that she wouldn't be scared or struggling while they tried to put the IV in (babies often have small/difficult-to-see veins and they sometimes have to try more than once to get a vein). I would suggest asking about nitrous oxide wherever you are getting yours done.

The MRI itself took about 45 minutes. Our baby came out of sedation very quickly afterwards - she was awake by the time we got back to the recovery room. She was very "floppy" from the drugs still being in her system (they warned us about this) - she couldn't even support her head, let alone sit up. But she was in good spirits - she smiled at us and reached her arm out to us when we walked in the room. We took her home, gave her a little breastmilk, and then put her down for a nap. She slept for a few hours and was basically her old self when she woke up.

So, all in all it was a stressful day, but much harder on us than on her. Best of luck to you, for both the MRI and whatever your doctors are looking for.

Hi J., my son has had many MRIs (6?) with sedation. We have never had any issues with the sedation. They are always a little frightening, but he has always done really well. They allow you to stay with him until he is asleep, and you get to sit next to him while he wakes up.

The only trying part is not letting them eat for 12 hrs before the MRI. We had most of ours done at Children's Hospital Oakland and they are notoriously behind schedule, so he was starved for 18+ hours on more than one occasion, and that's hard to deal with.

Best of luck!

My 14 month old daughter had to have an MRI after she fell out of a chair and hit her head on our coffee table. We took her to the ER to be checked out, although she was acting perfectly normal. It was around 10 pm that the doctor asked for the MRI, and she was not allowed to be sedated (in case anything was wrong). The technician said that my daughter would have to be perfectly still for about 2 minutes while the machine moved around her head, or the pictures wouldn't turn out. Well, we knew that was going to be impossible. She would not lay still, and was screaming to get off the "table/bed", they tried strapping her but her father and I said no to that when she freaked out. The techniciam suggested maybe getting her to fa;ll asleep and then trying it. Well that worked great! It wasn;t easy to get her to fall asleep at first, but it was way after her bedtime. We went to a quieter room, and I rocked and sang to her (to drown out the noises in the hospital) until she finally fell asleep. Then the tech took us back again and was able to get the procedure done without her moving. We were lucky, nothing was wrong with her. However, if she had not been asleep we never would have been able to finish the procedure. One last thing- two minutes with the MRI is safe- but it is radiation so don't let them keep trying it again and again or it can cause brain damage (heard this on a news story shortly after we had the MRI with our daughter).
Good luck, and I hope your son gets good results.


My son had an MRI when he was 2 mo but wasn't sedated. Since newborns usually sleep right after they're fed, they had me nurse him & then they did the MRI right after. You might want to ask if they could try doing your son's w/o sedation too. Maybe schedule it during his naptime? I'd imagine he'd have to be a decent napper though. Just a thought ... Good luck!

My daughter had an MRI at 8 months old. Sedation was required, so she wasn't allowed to eat/nurse for several hours before hand. I was totally stressed out, she had absolutely no problems. She was a bit groggy for a while, then she was fine. Good luck with your little guy!

Ask questions of the facility where the tests are being done. How many are performed a year. How safe the procedure is. Usually you can call a facility and ask questions from the person performing the procedure.

My nephew just went through a series of tests like CT scan and was sedated. He did fine. He is 18 months and has something wrong that he is not developing like he should.


Hi J., My daughter had an MRI at 17 months. The MRI itself is the easy part. I think the most difficult thing about the whole procedure is putting in the IV. They sometimes provide a numbing ointment that is put on ahead of time and could help to decrease the discomfort. Once the sedation medication is in your child will be too sleepy or asleep and won't notice or care about anything. My daughter has been through two surgeries and many weeks in the hospital with IV's galore as a baby and toddler. She is now a happy and healthy, thriving 7-year old. It is much harder on you to see all this than it is on your child so be strong and stay positive. You and your child will be fine!

My daughter had one last year. she was a champ. even though she was angry about not getting to eat for several hours she allowed the nurse to numb her hand, took her IV insertion without issue and went to sleep in my arms. She was very angry when she woke up and ate everything in sight for several hours. the next day there were no issues. She was a few months older than your little boy.
As for me... I was crying and emotinal and felt guilty for the whole time. Ours was done in sacramento at a little clinic downtown. The nurses and technicians and doctors there were wonderful. It's what they do. Plan to be there a while. bring a book and some music to listen to. Have a friend with you if you are a big overemotional momma like me. : )
as scary as it is, this is a time to trust the professionals. feel free to message me if you are in sacramento and using the clinic downtown sac.

My son was put under for an MRI at about the same age. He has been put under a couple of times. It is very scary the first time because you are not sure how they will react. However, he was just fine. Children are very cranky when they come out of it. So just be ready for that.

I hope everything goes well!

My daughter had an MRI with sedation around 2. I was warned of the immediate response and how scary it was to watch. My daughters nuerologist said, there may be an emotional reaction from parents, especially moms by seeing your child wide awake, then in seconds becoming unconsious and there was I went to pieces. My husband was great support, we went for a long walk while waiting for the MRI. she was fine, it was just scary, since they are your babes. He will be fine. Just beware of an out of your hands situation. Remember its for there sake. Best of luck, all prayers sent!
A mutual mother, A.

My son did when he was three days old. They gave him some liquid stuff and I rocked him until he fell asleep like we were getting ready for a nap. They then put the monitors on him and took him over. He was a little groggy when he woke up but everything went fine. I think I was more nervos than anything.

My now 7 year old had an MRI at about 5 months old and everything came out just fine however do not get scared when they put him to sleep, it happens in a matter of second literally. Good Luck!

My daughter had an MRI. You really cannot get away without having sedation that young. The MRI takes too long and it is very noisy. So just trying to let him sleep is out of the question. My daughter has had tons and tons of CT scans-those she can usually sleep thought.

With my daughter she was only about 5 months I think. We left her with the radiology people and they came and got us after they were finished-which honestly seemed like FOREVER. Then we sat there while she woke up. I don't think it wasn't as strong a sedation as they would give for her surgeries. It really wasn't too bad. Go ahead and write me if you have any more questions.

My son had one done at 6mo. and he was sedated. I held him while they masked him. Very hard to do but so glad I was there to help him. He also was sedated at 20 months and I held him while he went to sleep.... Today he is having a 4 hour dental procedure and he will be sedated. I do feel nervous right now only because of the lenghth of sedation. If you are able to hold your baby just be prepared for a headache for yourself???? I think the fumes made me a little sick... Good luck and you and your little guy will be great! Best wishes on your results!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.