Doctors are calling for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised from 10 years to 14 years.
Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone said this would prevent the unnecessary criminalisation of vulnerable children.
"Australia has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in the world," he said on Monday.
Under the current regime, 10-year-olds can be dealt with by the criminal justice system and be charged, prosecuted and imprisoned.
Dr Bartone also said criminalisation of children was a national problem that disproportionately affected indigenous youth.
"Most children in prison come from backgrounds that are disadvantaged. These children often experience violence, abuse, disability, homelessness, and drug or alcohol misuse," he said.
"Criminalising the behaviour of young and vulnerable children creates a vicious cycle of disadvantage and forces children to become entrenched in the criminal justice system."
The AMA wants federal and state governments to support health, education and rehabilitative alternatives to the criminal justice system.
Australian Associated Press