The Image Gently Think A-Head Campaign: 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.  Much of this information can be found on this website as well as the Image Gently home page (  We hope you find this information, e.g., when a CT scan of a child’s head is needed, to be helpful. If you have questions, please contact us.