Medical Decisions for Children 14 to 17 Years Old


Children 14 to 17 years old (but under 18) can make decisions on their own about care necessary for their health.This agreement is legally called “consent”.

Note that abortion is usually considered care necessary for a person’s health. So, a 14-year-old girl who wants an abortion doesn’t need her parents’ permission.

The parents or a guardian (guardians are officially “tutors”) of children 14 to 17 are not informed when these children receive care necessary for their health. But there’s an exception to this rule: if a child has to spend more than 12 hours in a health or social services institution, then the parents or tutor will be informed that the child was admitted to the institution. 

Treatment Not Necessary for a Child’s Health

Children 14 to 17 can also make decisions alone about care that is not necessary for their states of health

But there is an exception to this rule: permission of a child’s parents or tutor is required if the health care involves a serious risk to health and could cause serious and permanent side effects. For example, a 14-year-old would need permission of her parents for plastic surgery to her nose for non-medical reasons. The surgery is not necessary to her state of health, it involves a serious risk to her health, and it could cause serious and permanent side effects.

Interests of the Child

When the parents or tutor of a child 14 to 17 years old make a decision about a child’s health, the only factor they’re allowed to consider are the child’s interests.They must also take the child’s wishes into account as much as possible.

Right to Refuse Care

A child 14 to 17 can refuse any type of health care: either necessary or not necesssary to the child’s health.

However, if the child’s parents or tutor don’t agree with the refusal, and want the child to receive the care anyway, they need a judge’s permission.


For more information on emergency health care for children 14 to 17, see the article Medical Decisions in an Emergency.