Bringing Up Toddlers in Germany

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

Health Matters

After birth the first point of contact for the child's general health is a paediatrician (Kinderarzt). If the mother opts for an outpatient, home or birth house delivery then the baby must be taken to and registered with a paediatrician for its second statutory examination ("U2") at between three and ten days old. All medical observations are entered in the child's health record (Kinder-Untersuchungsheft) which is given to the mother following the birth. This must be taken to every medical consultation (Untersuchung) the child has until they are five years of age. It is used to record the developmental progress of the child including height, weight, vision and hearing as well as any tests which may be carried out. The health record (Untersuchungsheft) also lists how old a child should be for each statutory developmental examination.

Doctors' practices have individual surgery times and it is wise to keep a copy of these to hand. In an emergency take a child to the nearest hospital with an accident and emergency (A&E) department (Notfallstation/Notdienst). A&E departments are open 24 hours a day.

Vaccinations

In Germany vaccinations are voluntary not mandatory. They are recorded in a small international (printed in German, English and French) certificate of vaccination (Internationale Bescheinigungen ueber Impfungen und Impfbuch) which accompanies the child's health record (Kinder-Untersuchungsheft). This details the manufacturer and batch number of the vaccine, the date the vaccine is given, the disease it protects against and the signature of the person administering it.