Paediatric patients represent a very specific group within the radiology department. Compared to adult patients, they are more sensitive to radiation. As they are sometimes submitted to several radiology procedures, dose and image quality should be well balanced. Nowadays, only a few centres specialize in paediatric imaging, and knowledge of paediatric patient doses is, therefore, very scattered. The effect of the introduction of digital technology on paediatric patient doses remains largely undocumented. Data collected in the present survey illustrate that there is a clear need for standardisation in this domain. The proposal of a European diagnostic reference level (DRL) is quite difficult. Preliminary DRLs, based on typically 5–7 radiology centres per examination are proposed. The ‘effective dose’ may or may not be a very rigorous parameter, but it still remains useful nowadays to calculate a parameter that summarises the possible radiation-induced detriment to these young patients. However, conversion factors for calculation of the effective dose should be harmonised. Future studies should include an image quality evaluation study, using criteria that account for digital equipment.