Bringing up Toddlers in Australia

Find out about the services, activities and help available to you and your children in Australia...

Toddler Health

Government funded healthcare is provided by Medicare Australia. It is funded by the Medicare levy paid by every taxpayer. A schedule of fees is set by the Australian Government which Medicare will cover. Doctors may charge more than this.

From birth, family doctors or paediatricians provide care for babies and children including performing routine check-ups to monitor growth and development and the administering of immunisations.

Patients are not required to register with a specific doctor and are free to choose a GP. GPs can charge the fees they consider suitable for their services. The Medicare scheme covers a certain amount and any excess (often referred to as the gap) is to be paid by the patient. Some doctors "bulk-bill" which means that the patient doesn't have to pay anything at the time of the visit, unless there is an excess.

Specialists in paediatrics can be found in major cities, but in more rural areas, the GP may be the first port of call for toddler health questions. Following the birth, the hospital may assign a paediatrician for the child, but it is still possible to choose an alternative doctor.

Emergencies

Many hospitals have an Accident & Emergency Department - for specific child health issues check before visiting that there is a paediatrician in house, as there may not be one working around the clock.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are strongly encouraged in Australia and incentives are offered for completing a child's vaccinations in the appropriate timeframes. Pre-schools and schools often require a vaccination record at registration.

  • For information on Australia's recommended immunisation programme: Click here

Common Toddler Health Issues

Illnesses leading to vomiting and diarrhoea are more frequent in Australia than the common cold. This is possibly due to the heat and children should drink more during the summer months to avoid dehydration.

Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Children should be protected from sunburn at all times, with sun-safe clothing and swimwear, sunhats and sunscreen. In primary schools children are provided with sunscreen free of charge, and children without a sunhat will not be allowed in the playground.