News in Parenting: FDA Cutting Kids’ Radiation Exposure
When I took Abby to the ER a few months ago for a possible concussion, the doctor said she was probably okay, but offered us the option of a CT Scan. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized all the dangers involved with giving children CT Scans.
The doctor explained how children are affected much more by the radiation for 3 reasons: 1. Because their cells are still growing and dividing, so the radiation could affect a much larger proportion of their body in the long term. 2. Because they are so young, children have much longer to live with the possible cancer than say, a 65 year old man who get’s a CT Scan. 3. Because CT scans only have two settings (adults and adolescents no younger than 12), it is easy to make a mistake when adjusting the CT Scanner for younger children and doses are not always properly reduced.
Needless to say, we opted against the CT scan for Abby, who seemed to be responding just fine. We thought it better not to risk the radiation. However, parents and nannies won’t have to have the same fears in the future. In the USA Today article above, Lisa Szabo tells of how the FDA is proposing that makers of CT machines (and other radiation heavy X Ray Machines) create specific settings for a range of children. The settings will include infants, 1 yr olds, 5 year olds, and 12 year olds.
This proposal, if accepted (which let’s hope it is), will make CT Scans more friendly for children of all ages. The doses will not only take into account the size of the children, but the rate at which their cells are still multiplying as well, lowering the current dose (created for 12 year olds) severely. There are some scary statistics in Szabo’s article about cancers and deaths caused by CT Scan radiation (kind of makes me wish I never got mine done a few years back…). But if the FDA proposal is implemented, parents who need to take their children in for Scans can sleep a little bit better at night.
I’m personally surprised that it has taken the FDA so long to recognize the problem, but I guess it’s better late than never, right? So be sure to be on the lookout for updates on this proposal, and always try to be informed when making your children’s medical decisions. The world of medicine is constantly evolving, and every new development can affect the lives of your little ones.