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Baby with doctor getting a checkup
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Health checks for babies

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Shortly before or after your baby is born, you will be given a Child Health Record booklet. The book will be a different colour in different states. This is a way of keeping track of your child's progress.

Wherever you are and whatever happens to your child, you will have a record of their health and progress that can be shared with health professionals. The book is sometimes called the "blue book" or "red book" — or whatever colour the Child Health Record is in your state

When you visit a clinic, your doctor or a hospital, your baby’s healthcare professional will use the book to record your child’s weight and other measurements, vaccinations and other important health information.

You can also add information yourself. It is a good idea to record any illnesses or accidents and details of any medicines your child takes. Do not forget to take the book with you when you take your child for a review or vaccination. Also try to bring it if you have to go to hospital emergency or a general practitioner.

Your baby's general development

During your child's development reviews, your child health nurse or doctor will ask you how your child is going and about any concerns you may have. If your baby was born prematurely, their developmental age will be calculated from your original due date, not from the actual date they were born.

Your baby will usually be weighed regularly, especially in the first year of life and at the time of routine vaccinations. If there is any concern about your baby’s weight, they may be weighed more often.

When should children be checked?

Children’s health and development should be checked at:

  • birth
  • 1 to 4 weeks
  • 6 to 8 weeks
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 12 months
  • 18 months
  • 2 years
  • 3 years
  • 4 years or before starting school

Be sure to take your child to visit your nurse or doctor at these ages. Some children may also need additional visits if they have particular health issues - your doctor or early childhood nurse should advise you of this if it is the case.

After the birth

Maternity services will support you with breastfeeding, caring for your new baby and adjusting to life as a parent.

Your baby will be examined by a doctor and given a number of tests, including a hearing test. Routine vitamin K and hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended.

Between 1 to 4 weeks

Assessment will be done by child and family health nurse, midwife, doctor or paediatrician. They’ll advise you on feeding your baby, becoming a parent and how to help your baby grow up healthily.

Child health centres also offer home visits. The child and family health nurse will ask you to choose where you would like to have your first appointment. Many families like the nurse to visit them at home for their first appointment, as it can be difficult to get out of the house when you have a new baby.

Between 6 and 8 weeks

Your baby will have several tests and a full physical examination by a doctor or paediatrician.

Health checks are used to monitor how your child is growing and to check whether certain conditions are present so they can be treated. Your child and family health nurse or doctor will check or discuss your child’s hearing, vision, development, height, weight and head circumference measurements, and will be happy to discuss the results with you.

The 2 month immunisations are given now: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Rotavirus and Pneumococcal.

At 4 months

Your baby will be given their scheduled vaccinations: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Rotavirus and Pneumococcal.

This is also an opportunity for you to raise any concerns you may have and to ask for any information you need.

If you have any worries at any other times, would like to know more about your or your baby’s health or have your baby weighed, contact your doctor or go to a local child health clinic.

Between 6 to 9 months

Assessment will be done by a child and family health nurse, midwife, doctor or paediatrician.

They will check the baby’s weight and growth, hearing, vision and oral health. This visit focuses on family health and wellbeing, poisons information, how you can prevent your baby from being injured, being sun smart, improving communication, language and play.

The 6-month immunisations are given now: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and Pneumococcal for some children with certain medical conditions.

At 12 months

Routine 12-month vaccinations are given: Meningococcal ACWY, Measles, mumps, rubella, and Pneumococcal.

This is another opportunity to discuss your child’s growth and development, as well as any other child health or parenting issues

After the first year

Child health checks occur at 18 months, 2 years, 3 years and 4 years of age.

Prior to starting school, it is recommended that you take your child to a child and family health nurse or doctor for a health assessment, and if you, your child or your child’s teacher have any concerns about your child’s wellbeing at any time during their schooling. All children should also have a dental check-up prior to starting school.

A health assessment prior to your child starting high school is also highly recommended. As part of this assessment, it is recommended that your child’s eyes and vision are assessed in each eye separately. Hearing testing can be done at any age.

Immunisations are scheduled to be given at 18 months and 4 years of age. The 4-year vaccinations can be given from age 3 and a half years.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: April 2021

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