Think-A-Head and Image Gently™


Think-A-Head on Children's CT Scans

If kids hurt their heads, help families make informed decisions:

  • Know when an imaging test is (and is not) necessary

  • Explain why a head CT scan is (or is not) the right choice

  • Discuss the benefits as well as the risks of the scan

  • Child-size the CT radiation dose (where necessary)


Working Together to Take Care of Kids Who Hurt Their Heads

Head trauma occurs frequently in children. A CT (also called CAT) scan
may be necessary to diagnose your child’s condition. The results from the CT can be extremely helpful, including when they are normal. 

CT uses x-rays, which are a type of ionizing radiation.  Ionizing radiation at doses much, much higher than those used in brain CT scans has a small risk of causing cancer.  The risk of cancer at the much lower radiation levels used in a child’s brain CT examinations is many times smaller than at much higher radiation doses; this risk may be so low that it is zero (no risk at all). Even if a very small risk does exist, this risk is very small compared to the large benefit to your child from the valuable information in their CT scan. This information allows your child’s doctor to select the treatment that will result in the best possible care of your child. 

The Image Gently Alliance is committed to providing information on X-ray imaging examinations, on radiation dose levels of patient imaging procedures, on what we understand about potential risks, on appropriate use of imaging in children, and on the practice of good patient care.

 


 

Think-A-Head and Image Gently® 

The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging is comprised of over nearly 100  imaging and health care organizations reaching over 1 million professionals committed to imaging excellence and safety.  The organizations that led this Initiative are:  

Minor CT in Head Injuries

Think-A-Head Steering Committee

 

Educational Materials

Parents

Recommended Pediatric Head CT Protocols

Resources

References

Kuppermann N, Holmes JF, Dayan PS, et al. Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). Identification of children at very low risk of clinically-important brain injuries after head trauma: a prospective cohort study. Lancet. 2009 Oct 3;374(9696):1160-70.

Nigrovic LE, Schunk JE, Foerster A, et al. Traumatic Brain Injury Group for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network. The effect of observation on cranial computed tomography utilization for children after blunt head trauma. Pediatrics. 2011 Jun;127(6):1067-73.

Dayan PS, Holmes JF, Atabaki S, et al. Traumatic Brain Injury Study Group of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). Association of traumatic brain injuries with vomiting in children with blunt head trauma. Ann Emerg Med. 2014 Jun;63(6):657-65.

 

Dayan PS, Holmes JF, Hoyle J Jr, Atabaki S, Tunik MG, Lichenstein R, Miskin M, Kuppermann N; Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). Headache in traumatic brain injuries from blunt head trauma. Pediatrics. 2015 Mar;135(3):504-12.

Dayan PS, Holmes JF, Schutzman S, et al. Traumatic Brain Injury Study Group of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). Risk of traumatic brain injuries in children younger than 24 months with isolated scalp hematomas. Ann Emerg Med. 2014 Aug;64(2):153-62.

 

Lee LK, Monroe D, Bachman MC, et al. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Working Group of Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). Isolated loss of consciousness in children with minor blunt head trauma. JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Sep;168(9):837-43

 

Nigrovic LE, Lee LK, Hoyle J, et al. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Working Group of Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). Prevalence of clinically important traumatic brain injuries in children with minor blunt head trauma and isolated severe injury mechanisms. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Apr;166(4):356-61.