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Tests and reviews after a child protection medical examination

This is resource for parents and carers about extra tests or reviews that your child might need as part of their child protection medical examination.

You should already have been given the information about the child protection medical examination which you can scan here or type in this link: https://tinyurl.com/2hgjojs7

QR code about child protection medical examination

As part of the examination, sometimes extra tests and reviews by other doctors or teams are needed. This resource explains what will happen and what to expect.

Your doctor or nurse will be able to tell you which of these tests and reviews your child needs. Please ask if you are not sure.


As part of the child protection medical examination, your child may need to have X-rays taken.

Your child is likely to need X-rays if they have:

  • an injury where there is concern that they may have broken or damaged a bone
  • pain which cannot be explained

Sometimes children need a special set of X-rays, called a skeletal survey.

X-rays are a type of radiation. Everybody is exposed to small amounts of radiation all the time from the air that we breath and the food that we eat. The radiographers will take the X-rays and will make sure that the lowest possible amount of radiation is used. A single X-ray only needs a tiny amount of radiation.

The amount of radiation needed for a skeletal survey is about the same as the amount of radiation everybody encounters over a few months. The amount of radiation needed for a CT scan of the head is about the same as the amount of radiation everybody encounters over 3 years.

When your child goes for X-rays, you will not be given the result. This is normal, and the doctor who carried out your child protection medical examination or another senior doctor will be able to give you the results as soon as they are ready. Sometimes this can take a few days.


If there is any chance you could be pregnant you must tell the radiographer (the person doing the X-rays).

There is more information on the skeletal survey available. Please ask your doctor or nurse.

What is a CT head?

A CT head is a specialist scan that uses X-rays to create detailed images of the skull and brain. The machine looks like a giant doughnut.

The CT head scan is looking for any injuries to your child’s skull or brain.

Your child will need a CT head scan if:

  • they are under 1 year of age and have an injury
  • the doctor carrying out your child protection medical examination is worried that your child might have an injury to their head
  • there is a history of your child having been injured on or near their head, even if this was an accident

The CT head scan usually takes about 10 minutes. Your child will need to lie still whilst the scan is taking place. We will try and time the scan so your child is asleep or having a nap. Sometimes this is not possible and we might need to give some medication to sedate your child (make them sleepy).

What other tests will my child need?

Lots of children who have a child protection medical examination need to have blood tests. These can be for lots of reasons:

  • to check for any medical problems
  • to look for a medical cause for bruising or other injuries
  • as part of checks to make sure nothing is missed

If your child needs blood tests the doctor or nurse looking after you will tell you. If your child does need blood tests they will be offered numbing cream or spray to make them less painful.

Some children need other tests such as urine (wee) or swabs. They are not painful. These tests are to look for other medical causes, or sometimes to look for infection.

The results of blood tests and other tests can sometimes take a few days (or even longer) to come back.

Examination of the eyes

In babies and young children it is sometimes really difficult to know if they have had a head injury because they cannot tell us if they have a headache and cannot tell us what has happened.

If your child is under 1 year of age then we are likely to ask the specialist eye doctors (Ophthalmologist) to come and see your child. They will look at the back of the eyes (the retina).

The eye doctors use special equipment to hold the eyelids open for the examination. They will also need to put drops into your child’s eyes to make the examination easier to do. This is completely safe, is not painful and will only take a few minutes to do.

Intimate or sexual abuse examination

Most children and young people who have a child protection medical examination will have their genitalia looked at as part of the general examination.

However, if it is suspected or has been disclosed that your child may have been sexually abused they will be seen by the specialist team of doctors and nurses in the SARC (sexual abuse referral centre). Information will be given to you about this if it is needed.

What happens next?

Once your child has had all the tests and reviews that they need the results will be discussed with the doctor who carried out the child protection medical examination. These will then be shared with social care and the police if necessary.

All of the results will be stored securely in your child’s medical record.

We will tell you the results once we have them.

Who do I speak to if I want to know more?

Please speak to the nurse or doctor looking after your child. They will either be able to help you or will be able to contact the consultant in charge of your child’s care.

If you need more information about the child protection medical examination, speak to your doctor or nurse, or speak to your allocated social worker.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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