Consent for emergency medical services for children and adolescents

Pediatrics. 2011 Aug;128(2):427-33. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-1166. Epub 2011 Jul 25.


Parental consent generally is required for the medical evaluation and treatment of minor children. However, children and adolescents might require evaluation of and treatment for emergency medical conditions in situations in which a parent or legal guardian is not available to provide consent or conditions under which an adolescent patient might possess the legal authority to provide consent. In general, a medical screening examination and any medical care necessary and likely to prevent imminent and significant harm to the pediatric patient with an emergency medical condition should not be withheld or delayed because of problems obtaining consent. The purpose of this policy statement is to provide guidance in those situations in which parental consent is not readily available, in which parental consent is not necessary, or in which parental refusal of consent places a child at risk of significant harm.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Confidentiality / ethics
  • Confidentiality / standards
  • Emergency Medical Services / ethics
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards*
  • Emergency Medicine / ethics
  • Emergency Medicine / methods
  • Emergency Medicine / standards*
  • Humans
  • Organizational Policy*
  • Parental Consent* / ethics
  • Pediatrics / ethics
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Pediatrics / standards*
  • Treatment Refusal / ethics
  • United States