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Good Question: Are CT scans really necessary for children when they hit their head?

As we approach summer more children will become more active outside and that means potential injuries.

A new study for the Journal of Pediatrics says too many children are ending up in the emergency room with head injuries.

Good Question: Are CT scans really necessary for children when they hit their head?

Brayden Glass is a healthy, active three year old, but when he was one his mother feared he had a brain injury.

While at the pediatrician's office Brayden actually tumbled off the exam table head first.

"I flipped out! The doctor came in, checked him out and said he looked fine, I said that's not good enough," says Leslie Glass.

Glass pushed her doctor to give Brayden a CT scan.

The test found he was fine, exactly what the doctor had said in the first place.

A new study looked at 42,000 children with minor blunt head trauma.

The study found found the children who were observed first had a lower rate of needing a ct scan, reducing their exposure to radiation.

"We know that kids can be ten times more sensitive to radiation, so then it becomes a risk, a small risk then it becomes still a very small risk, but a risk of developing cancer later in life," says Dr. Christopher Giza, a UCLA Pediatric Neurologist.

Doctors say recent headlines about traumatic brain injury in athletes and children may be making parents over cautious.

But serious brain injuries are uncommon.

Dr. Giza says more study is needed on just how long a child should be watched before a decision is made.

"Often a few hours is a good amount of time, many studies have focused on a two hour time window, some on a six hour time window," says Dr. Giza.

Despite the study, Leslie Glass doesn't regret getting Brayden tested.

A decision doctors say parents should consider carefully.

"I would rather have the peace of mind knowing that he was minimally exposed," says Glass.

Some seven million ct scans are performed annually on children.


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