Risks of CT scans for kids' concussions

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- About 500,000 children per year end up in ERs because of head injury. And about half of them undergo a CT scan. But the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that a third of those tests are unnecessary.

Parents may be playing a role in the increase in children's CT scans. A Consumer Reports survey reveals that more than one-third of parents say they would insist on a CT scan if their child received a significant blow to the head.

Radiation from CT scans increases the risk of cancer. Children are more susceptible than adults to the risks of radiation. And there is concern about lifetime cumulative effects of radiation exposure.

A CT scan of the head can expose a child to a significant amount of radiation: up to 400 times a regular dental bitewing X-ray.

Consumer Reports points out that there are times when a CT scan is important: after a serious accident such as a car crash, or when there are serious symptoms such as confusion, loss of consciousness, loss of hearing or vision, or tingling on one side of the body.

You can get more information on radiation from medical tests here.

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