Background: Too many abused and neglected children are being overlooked by GPs and other professionals who are in contact with the families. Some suggestions for a definition of 'a child in need' have been given, but the functionality of these definitions has not been tested in general practice. Aim: To describe the problems presented by GPs as cases with children in need during supervision, and from here to suggest an empirically-based definition of a child in need in general practice. Design of study: A mixed-method evaluation design was used. Setting: Twenty-one GPs, in Denmark, participated in supervision groups concerning cases with children in need in general practice. Method: The data were analysed via field notes and video recordings; case categorisation into sex, ethnicity, and developmental stages; thematically using the GPs' own descriptions; and a theoretically supported style. Results: Analysis of the data led to the suggested definition of a case concerning 'a child in need' in general practice as one that directly or indirectly involves problems with a specific child, an as-yet unborn child, or one or both parents of a family currently or potentially threatening the wellbeing of the family or the child. Conclusion: Based on this analysis, one suggestion as to why some abused and neglected children are overlooked in general practice is that GPs often have to navigate in difficult indirect consultations, where there is a high risk of losing the overview.