0–18 years: guidance for all doctors

Appendix 1

Who are children and young people?

Children and young people are a diverse group with many different needs. Our guidance looks at children and young people from birth until their 18th birthday.


When we say ‘children’ we mean younger children who lack maturity and understanding. This makes it harder for them to make important decisions for themselves.

Young people

When we say 'young people' we mean older or more experienced children. This group can make decisions for themselves.

At 16 it is legally presumed young people have the ability to make decisions about their own care.