OAK BROOK, Ill. (December 4, 2018) — RadiologyInfo.org has launched RadInfo 4 Kids, a new section of the website with videos, stories, games and activities to help children prepare for radiology exams.
RadiologyInfo.org is a radiology information resource for patients, jointly developed and sponsored by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR).
Children have unique perspectives on life experiences and creative ways of expressing themselves. Who better to help children learn about what to expect during a radiologic exam than other children who have been through the exam themselves? RadInfo 4 Kids offers a variety of resources that were created by kids for kids to help make them more comfortable undergoing radiologic exams.
The RSNA-ACR Public Information Website Committee and the RadiologyInfo.org Patient Advocate Advisory Network saw a lack of information about radiology geared toward children on the Internet and created RadInfo 4 Kids to address that need.
"We thought it would be unique to let children who have had imaging exams speak for themselves about what they experienced," said Cynthia Rigsby, M.D., co-chair of the RSNA-ACR Public Information Website Committee. "When children hear other children talking about medical procedures, it can alleviate some of their fear."
Megan Worrell, certified child life specialist in the Emergency Department (ED) at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago agrees.
"Children speaking to children in an age-appropriate way helps reduce anxiety about the unknown and clears up the confusion that children have about medical procedures," Worrell said. "For example, when a radiologist talks about the noise that an MRI machine makes, a child may imagine all kinds of scary sounds, but if another child describes the sound like a loud washing machine, a child can relate to that sound. A washing machine sound isn't scary so, therefore, the sound the MRI makes — and vicariously — the MRI, is not scary."
Ananya Ramji submitted a video called "The Basketball Game: An MRI Story," with a picture book, illustrated and read by her, that walks through the MRI she had on her hip after a bad fall during a basketball game.
In another video, Raymond Cohen describes his experience with head MRI. Ray and his mother, Lisa Cohen, were excited to submit their video, which features Ray answering questions from his mom about his MRI exam, including what it looked like, how it sounded and how Ray felt during the procedure.
"Ray is the first person to help someone who is hurt," Cohen said, "so the idea that he could make a video and help other kids was very appealing to him."
Additional videos on the site were provided by Dr. Rigsby, a pediatric radiologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and professor of radiology and pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, who shared the videos that her hospital has used during pediatric radiologic exams over the years.
While the videos are helpful for reducing anxiety in children, they can also help parents reduce their anxiety as well.
"Parents inadvertently pass along anxiety to their children in many situations and never more so than in an emergency medical situation," said Arun Krishnaraj, M.D., co-chair of the RSNA-ACR Public Information Website Committee and associate professor of radiology and medical imaging, University of Virginia Health Systems, Charlottesville. "These children's stories can help parents feel less alone when they realize that the videos would not have been created unless the parents felt strongly enough about the experience to share it to help other children."
RadInfo 4 Kids also includes "Rad Games and Activities," such as word searches, word scrambles, mazes and coloring sheets featuring some of the most commonly used radiologic equipment and diagnostic tools. All of the projects featured on the page are short and designed to be viewed or read quickly, which is extremely helpful during stressful emergency situations.
Plus, Dr. Rigsby noted, children have shorter attention spans so snippets of information are more easily understood, and give children time to process the details and then ask additional questions. This helps them to work through any fears they might have.
"An important benefit of RadInfo 4 Kids is that by calming a child, radiologic exams can be done quickly and efficiently, which can have a marked impact on improving a child's health," Dr. Krishnaraj said.