Many children being admitted to emergency rooms for breathing or stomach problems are being exposed to x-rays unnecessarily, according to pediatricians in Australia. These pediatricians say doctors routinely order the tests for diagnosing bronchiolitis, asthma and abdominal pain in children but most tests are not useful.

X-rays were of no use in more than 95% of cases of children with stomach pain and very rarely lead to doctors changing they way treated their paediatric patients, said the collaborative group lead by pediatricians at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

For children with respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchiolitis, X-rays helped diagnose the illness in about one in 100 children, according to the Choosing Wisely initiative.

President of the Royal College of Physicians’ Pediatrics & Child Health Division Dr Sarah Dalton urged her colleagues to hold off ordering the scans unless it was clinically necessary.