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2. Definition of the child

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) defines the age of a child to be from 0-18 years [with certain exceptions] (UN CRC 1990).  In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a child is legally a person who has not yet attained 18 years of age.  However, under Section 8 of the Family Law Reform Act 1969, children aged 16-17yrs are deemed capable and competent to give consent to surgical, medical and dental examinations (including imaging) in the same way as a competent adult (SCoR 2006). In many other European countries, including Scotland, children are only accepted into children’s hospitals up to 16 years or even less in some European countries (EACH 2008)


Throughout this document, the term ‘paediatric’ is used in addition to the terms children and young people. The term ‘children’ is used to include babies and young children and the term ‘young person’ is used to include older children and young adults.

In general, the term ‘children’ or the term ‘paediatric’ is often used to cover all those under 18 years or age.
‘Safeguarding children’ is now a preferred term to ‘Child Protection’.

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