Health checks in childhood

Health checks Infants and children should visit the doctor or community health nurse regularly for check-ups. They should attend each of these visits even if they are healthy. Bring your child’s Personal Health Record to each visit so that mportant weight, height and head circumference measurements can be noted and compared to average growth rates.

For more information, see Health Checks in Childhood.

Childhood immunisation

Immunisation Immunisation is the process of being vaccinated against a disease, thus becoming immune to it. Childhood immunisation is an effective way of protecting your child against a number of infectious diseases. To ensure life-long protection, childhood immunisation should begin as early as possible, with all the appropriate doses and boosters.

For more information, see Childhood Immunisation.

Developmental milestones

Developmental milestones The process of developing from a baby into a child requires the achievement of many milestones in language, physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. Most children will develop skills in roughly the same order, but this can occur at very different rates.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones in Childhood.

3 months

Three months Children at 3 months of age should be able to rest on their forearms, and lift their head and upper chest while lying on their stomach. Babies will begin to laugh, ‘coo’ and vocalise in vowel sounds. They should be visually alert and able to follow a dangling object. Most babies will be waking once or twice in a night for feeding.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones at 3 Months.

6 months

Six months Six month old children are able to roll over when lying on their backs, sit up with help, and bear weight on their legs when standing with help. They reach for toys and bring everything into their mouths. Their vision is improved, and they vocalise with single and double syllables. They are alert, curious, constantly active and may be shy around strangers.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones at 6 Months.

9 months

Nine months Nine month old children are able to sit without help, and can stand using objects. They will poke at pellet-sized objects and will look for fallen objects. Children can chew and feed themselves biscuits. They will babble long strings of syllables.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones at 9 Months.

12 months

Twelve months By twelve months, children are able to rise from a sitting or lying position. They are able to crawl, and may be able to walk unaided. They can drink from a cup, but need help using a spoon. They readily explore and manipulate toys and often cast objects to the floor repeatedly. Children can understand several words, respond to simple instructions, and will often wave goodbye.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones at 12 Months.

18 months

Eighteen months Eighteen month old children walk unaided, bend down to pick up objects without overbalancing, and are starting to climb. They can drink and feed themselves unaided, and will show a hand preference. Children often imitate activities, repeat words and understand more. They demand attention and dislike being left behind.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones at 18 Months.

2 years

Two years Two year old children can run fast, use stairs slowly, and will often open doors and drawers. They can give their first names, form simple sentences, and enjoy naming objects on request. They explore widely, will play near (but not with) other children, and have trouble sharing. Children are able to put on their own hats and shoes.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones at 2 Years.

3 years

Three years Three year old children can kick, throw and catch large balls. They can draw with a pencil, use scissors and thread beads on a string. Children can speak clearly, ask lots of question, and listen to stories. Most are toilet trained. Three year olds try being helpful or sharing, play with other children, and play make-believe.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones at 3 Years.

4 years

Four years Four year old children can climb ladders and trees, ride a tricycle and hop on one foot. They can count to twenty, use appropriate grammar and recite their name, age and address. They are social and independent, and are developing a sense of humour.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones at 4 Years.

5–7 years

Five years Children between five and seven years of age can tie their shoe laces, colour pictures and learn to read and write. They will choose their own friends, dress and undress themselves, understand rules, and argue.

For more information, see Developmental Milestones at 5–7 Years.

Developmental issues

Developmental delay

Developmental delay Development that is slower than expected for a child’s age is termed developmental delay. Between 5% and 17% of children experience developmental delay. Only a smaller percentage of these children are affected by severe delay or developmental disorders.

For more information, see Developmental Delay in Childhood.

Video: Bed wetting

Bed wetting video Bed wetting is very common, but people don’t tend to talk about it. Dr Joe Kosterich talks about bed wetting, including age and changes in urinary patterns, when to start getting children to be dry at night, how to help stop bed wetting, and when to see a doctor.

Watch the video Bed Wetting.

More information


Parenting For more information on parenting, including child development milestones, work-life balance and tips for spending more time with family, see Parenting.

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