This test is performed to obtain an image of the heart, lungs and ribcage. The X-rays are emitted from a special device with the child standing between it and a camera. Infants will need to be held.
The child keeps as still as possible for a few seconds whilst the radiographer takes the picture. The procedure is entirely painless. The picture is then sent electronically to the doctor although it is usually possible to obtain a hard copy.
The CXR does involve a very small amount of radiation but at this low level the risks are miniscule. Your doctor will have judged already that the advantages of such an investigation vastly outweigh the risk. They are not performed in all patients but only when a specific question is being asked. Where structural heart disease has been diagnosed it is usual to perform a CXR. Radiation can damage the unborn child so a parent who suspects she may be pregnant should inform the doctor and radiographer beforehand.