Bringing up Toddlers and Children in France

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

From birth to young adulthood, the information needed for parents in France on child health, out of school activities, financial assistance available to the family, and traditions in French schools.

Health of the Child

Birth: For information on pregnancy and birth see the Angloinfo INFOrmation page on  Having a Baby in France.

Paediatricians: Most parents take their baby directly to a specialist doctor right from the birth and this can continue until the child is at least 10 years old (or even more), after which visiting a generalist doctor is standard practice. However, parents are not obliged to visit a specialist and can see a general practitioner right from the start.

Carnet de santé de l'enfant: Babies and children in France have a Carnet de santé. This free book is issued at birth to record all medical details, growth and weight charts, vaccinations and anything relating to health up to the age of 16 years. It is normally available from doctors and specialists, however if not, they can advise where to get one. It is used when registering a child in crèche, maternelle, primary schools and leisure centres (centre de loisirs) for proof of vaccinations. Each doctor’s visit should be recorded in this book though often it is left to the parent to fill in minor details.

Children’s Hospitals: Most hospitals have a children’s ward, but there are also hospitals in many regions which are devoted entirely to children and their illnesses. To find a children's hospital search for the yellow pages telephone directory, Pages Jaunes for "Hôpital pour Enfants" and the department number.

Children’s Road Safety: Vehicles in France that are used exclusively for transporting children must be fitted with safety belts. It is also a legal requirement to wear safety belts in buses and coaches over 3.5 tonnes.