Parents/caregivers are an important part of the team. As the person caring for your child in the hospital room, you may receive some radiation exposure. If you follow every precaution, the amount of exposure will be low.
Wear protective clothing
You must always wear long pants, socks and shoes (closed toed, no sandals), to keep your legs and feet completely covered.
- Over your shoes, you’ll wear booties at all times. These booties should be removed before you step outside the plastic covered floor of the room and into the hallway.
- Before you go to the bed area to help your child, or touch anything your child has touched, put on a disposable gown and gloves.
- After you’ve left the bedside and before you return to the couch, remove the gown and gloves and dispose of them in the radioactive trash bag.
Environmental Health & Radiation Safety will show you how to properly put on gowns, booties and gloves and how to take them off.
Keep your distance
Most of your time should be spent in the “Clean Corner,” which is a safe distance from your child. Stay at least 3 feet from your child whenever possible. It is OK to be at the bedside when you need to attend to your child, but when you finish feeding, cleaning, etc., return to the “Clean Corner.”
Do NOT stay at the bedside to talk to your child. If your child is not feeling well, talk to your nurse to see if the medical staff can do something to make your child feel better.
Remember these rules
- Do not eat, drink or store food that is not for your child in the room.
- Do not apply cosmetics in the room.
- Do not bring anything into the room that can’t be thrown out.
- Do not enter the bathroom. There are a few exceptions to this rule, which Radiation Safety will review with you if applicable.
Monitor your radiation exposure
- Wear a dosimeter. You will wear a dosimeter the entire time you are caring for your child. The dosimeter measures your radiation exposure. You’ll record the number showing on the dosimeter screen in a log at least once a day. When you are discharged, you MUST return the dosimeter to the dosimeter case outside of the room. Use of cell phones and microwaves can cause interference with the dosimeter. Radiation Safety will show you how to operate the dosimeter and will discuss this in further detail.
- Use the radiation hand and foot monitor. The hand and foot radiation monitors in the hallway must be used to check your hands and feet for contamination every time you leave your child’s room. If the monitor detects contamination, an audio alarm will sound and the red light will turn on. Radiation Safety will show you how to operate the hand and foot monitors and will discuss what to do if your hands or feet are still contaminated after leaving the child’s room.