10 inspiring examples of child-friendly MRI scanners

Standard MRI scans are difficult enough for many adults, with loud noises, an enclosed tube and the stress of laying still during an anxiety-producing procedure.

For children, MRI scans can be even more daunting. Quite often, sedatives are required for paediatric patients attempting to have an MRI, which isn’t pleasant for children and parents alike.

However, hospitals around the world have taken steps to make the MRI experience more comfortable for children and their families.

Here are some of the incredible efforts made to help children have more comfortable MRI scans:


An MRI fit for a princess (or prince)

castle 2

The Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, in the US, unveiled a new pediatric MRI suite in the style of a sand castle!

kids mri room

Another hospital in Florida developed a sandcastle MRI which also featured the sound of ocean waves and the smell of fresh ocean spray!

M-Arrre-Aye: a pirate ship MRI scanner


An industrial designer created a series of child-friendly MRI scanning suites at the University of Pittsburgh Hospital, including this pirate ship-themed MRI. The suites even included aromatherapy and disco ball lights which create ‘light bubbles’ that float around the room.

See how GE has worked to create other child-friendly MRI procedures:

Not a CAT scan… a kitten scan!

kitten scan

This miniature MRI scanner greets children in the waiting room before their MRI so they can learn about the experience and see the MRI procedure at their own scale.

Space in an MRI? An out-of-this-world MRI in Barcelona

spaceship mri


This hospital created an MRI suite that looks and feels just like a spaceship MRI in outer space, making children feel more excited about the procedure.

A rocket MRI simulator at Evelina London


Before young patients go in for their real MRI scan at Evelina London, they get to preview the experience in a rocket ship which also offers an explainer video! 16 hospitals in the world now offer a simulator for kids to prepare for an MRI. Learn how the rocket ship simulation is helping children cope with MRI scans.


An MRI that feels like home

cable car mri 2

A San Francisco hospital used local themes – including this cable car MRI ‘ride’ – to provide children with a familiar, fun MRI experience!


This funky elephant scanner

elephant mri

This is from a hospital in Japan. It looks pretty interesting, but we’re not sure about the backstory!

Lego MRI
Radiology with MRI and X Ray

We just thought this was fun: a Lego MRI from the ‘Radiological Lego‘ Gallery was created by voxel123 on flickr.


Have you seen other ways that hospitals have created a more relaxing MRI experience for children? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter! 

Also, watch this space… we’re in the process of making our open MRI scanner even more child-friendly and will be asking for your feedback and ideas!


Newcastle Clinic’s open scanner is much more comfortable for both children and adults.

It has no enclosed tube and makes much less noise. We also ensure that all patients can have someone with them during the scan – whether it’s a family member, friend or a member of our supportive staff.

Learn more about the open MRI or contact us with any questions about requesting a referral.