Bringing Up Toddlers

Everything for parents with young children living in Costa Rica: with information on health matters, child benefits and childcare...

When a child is born in Costa Rica, it is common practice for an obstetrician to oversee the birth. Children receive a health booklet at birth (Carnés de Salud del (a) niño), which is used to record the child's medical check-ups, growth and vaccinations.

Toddler Health

Parents may wish to choose a pediatrician, a doctor who specializes in child development, for their child's care. A doctor can be selected based on recommendations, location or inclusion in the family's private health insurance plan.

Children's hospitals and emergencies

The majority of both the public and private hospitals in Costa Rica have specialist children's units. There is a large choice of public and private institutions, including:

  • Hospital Nacional de Niños, "Dr. Carlos Sáenz Herrera" (in Spanish)
    At: Paseo Colón, San José Costa Rica
    Tel: 2222 0122
  • Hospital Heredia (in Spanish)
    At: 850m Sur del Palacio de los Deportes, Heredia
    Tel: 2562 8100
  • Hospital Max Peralta (in Spanish)
    : Cartago
    Tel: 2550 1999
  • Centro Internacional De Medicina - CIMA (in Spanish)
    Tel: 2208 1000
    At: Escazú, San José
  • The U.S Embassy in Costa Rica provides a selection of public and private hospitals, as well as contact details for specialist doctors


Newborn babies are vaccinated against hepatitis B and tuberculosis. The Costa Rican government provides a vaccination calendar detailing age and dosage information for all mandatory vaccinations.

  • For the full list of vaccinations: Click here (in Spanish)

Child Benefit

Child benefit is available for unemployed individuals and those earning below the minimum wage.

Two organizations involved with supporting parents and children are:

  • Costa Rican Social Security Fund (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social- CCSS): In order to receive aid or medical care residents must be registered with the CCSS
  • Instituto Mixta de Ayuda Social - IMAS: Programs are run to ensure parents have enough money to provide their children with food and education.