Your baby's routine checks and vaccinations

What immunisations will be offered to my baby

Media last reviewed: 16/05/2012

Next review due: 16/05/2014

The Healthy Child Programme

The Healthy Child Programme is a series of reviews, screening tests, vaccinations and information to support parents and help them give their child the best chance of staying healthy and well.

The Healthy Child team is led by a health visitor, who will work closely with your GP and local Sure Start Children’s Centre. The team includes people with different skills and experience, such as nursery nurses, children’s nurses and Early Years support staff.

The programme will be offered to you in your GP surgery, local clinic or Children’s Centre. Appointments should be arranged so that both you and your partner can be there. Some reviews may be done in your home. The reviews are also an opportunity for you to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have.

What if I need some extra help?

All families are different, and becoming a parent can be difficult for many reasons, including being a young parent, living on a low income, or having a child who is ill or disabled. 

The Healthy Child Programme offers plenty of support for children and families who need it. Your health visitor will make sure that your child has an individual Healthy Child plan, which reflects your particular strengths, needs and choices.

The child health record (red book)

Shortly before or after your baby is born, you’ll be given a Personal Child Health Record (PCHR). In England, this usually has a red cover and is often called "the red book". This is a way of keeping track of your child’s progress. Wherever you are and whatever happens to your child, you’ll have a record of their health and progress, which can be shared with health professionals.

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

You can also add information yourself. It’s a good idea to record any illnesses or accidents and details of any medicines your child takes. You’ll find it helpful to keep the developmental milestones section of the PCHR up to date and to fill in the relevant questionnaires before the review. Don’t 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 accident and emergency (A&E) or a walk-in centre.

An electronic version of the red book is available in some areas. Find out more about the e red book.

Your baby’s general development

During your child’s development reviews, your health visitor will ask you how your child is doing 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 between the ages of one month and 13 months and at the time of routine vaccinations. If there's any concern about your baby's weight, they may be weighed more often. In general, your baby should be weighed no more than once a month when they're up to six months old, once every two months from six to 12 months, and once every three months when they're over the age of one.

Your child should have a development review at the following ages:

Baby development 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 and given a number of tests, including a hearing test. See Your baby's screening programme for more information about your child’s tests.

Baby development by 14 days

A health professional, usually a health visitor, will carry out a new baby review. They’ll advise you on feeding your baby, becoming a parent and how to help your baby grow up healthily.

Your baby should be weighed (naked) at birth and at five and 10 days old. 

Baby development between six and eight weeks

Your baby will have several tests and a full physical examination by a health professional.

Baby development at eight weeks, three months and four months

Your baby will be given their scheduled vaccinations. This is also an opportunity for you to raise any concerns you may have and to ask for any information you need. See the vaccination schedule for kids for more information.

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 the team or go to a local child health clinic.

Baby development by one year

Your child will have a second full review, checking on areas including language and learning, safety, diet and behaviour. This is an opportunity for you and your partner to discuss any concerns you may have and to prepare for your child becoming a toddler.

Child development between 12 and 13 months

Within a month of your child's first birthday they will be given their next set of vaccinations: MMR, Hib/MenC and PCV. You will have the opportunity to discuss their progress or ask for information.

Child development between two and two-and-a-half years

Your child may have a third full health and development review. Again, this is a chance for you and your partner to ask questions and get ready for the next stage of your child’s development.

This review will be carried out by a member of the Healthy Child team, usually a health visitor, nursery nurse or children’s nurse. They’ll encourage you to talk about how things are going and will listen to your concerns. The review might be at your local children’s centre, GP surgery or at home. It's best if both you and your partner are there.

The review will cover:

  • general development, including movement, speech, social skills and behaviour, hearing and vision
  • growth, healthy eating and keeping active
  • managing behaviour and encouraging good sleeping habits
  • teeth brushing and going to the dentist
  • keeping your child safe
  • vaccinations

If you’re thinking about getting back into work or training, ask about childcare and any other support you may be able to get. 

Child development at school entry (four to five years)

Your child will have a full health review. This includes having their weight and height measured and their vision and hearing tested.

Once your child reaches school age, the school nursing team and school staff will help support your child’s health and development. They will work with you to make sure that they're offered the right vaccinations and health checks. They will give you advice and support on all aspects of health and wellbeing, including emotional and social issues.