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Is a single chest x-ray too much radiation for a 3 year old?

Amy Hardin, MD, FAAP


​​​Great question! Many parents are becoming more savvy to radiation exposure.

Did you know everyone is exposed to radiation daily?

The soil, rocks, water, and riding in airplanes give us small amounts of cosmic radiation without any problems. Luckily, most hospitals realize that kids have different needs than adults. Many children's hospitals are investing in lower dose radiology equipment for this reason.

One single chest x-ray is not concerning at all--even to newborns! It is not putting your child at any risk. 

The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging reminds parents and pediatricians to follow these guidelines:

  • Imaging should only be used if there is a definite medical benefit.

  • The lowest amount of radiation possible should be used based on the size of the child.

  • Imaging should only include areas needing to be evaluated. 

  • If possible, use non-radiating imaging such as ultrasound or MRI. 

Additional Information from

Amy Hardin, MD, FAAP

​Amy Hardin, MD, FAAP is a pediatrician in private practice in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. She is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Office and Practice Management. Additionally, Dr. Hardin is a recent former member of the Georgia Chapter of the AAP and a board member of the Physician's Alliance. She and her husband's biggest accomplishments thus far are raising two daughters.  

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The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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