How is an x-ray performed?

  1. You and your child will meet the imaging technologist (person who takes pictures with the x-ray machine), who will take you to the x-ray room and take the images.
  2. You will see the x-ray machine when you enter the room. It is like a big camera. Since the x-ray machine takes pictures of different parts of the body, your child may sit in a chair, stand up or lie down on a table while having an x-ray.
  3. The imaging technologist will place a hard board on the part of your child’s body that needs an x-ray. The hard board helps the x-ray machine take pictures.
  4. The technologist will take the pictures. As they take pictures, they will explain every step and give instructions to your child.
  5. Once the x-ray images are taken, the imaging technologist will look at them to make sure the doctors have what they need to help your child. Sometimes they will need to take a few more x-rays.

What can I do to help my child?

  • Children like to know what they will need to do. Explain to your child their only job is to hold still and hold their breath when the imaging technologist asks them to. It will be as if they were getting their picture taken with a phone camera. You can help them by practicing staying still and holding their breath at home.
  • Explain to your child that the x-ray camera will move but it will not touch their body.
  • Praise your child often during and after the x-ray.


For additional questions regarding your child’s x-ray, please contact the Pediatric Imaging Child Life Specialist at 617-724-1153.

Rev. 5/2022. MassGeneral for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treat any medical conditions.