Bringing Up Babies, Toddlers and Children in Russia

Find out about the services, activities and help available for parents and children in Russia, as well as information about the healthcare and vaccinations system…

Toddler Health

The public healthcare system is freely available to all residents of Russia, funded by mandatory health insurance contributions from employers on behalf of employees. However, it is most common, and advisable, for foreign nationals to use private healthcare facilities, which are paid for by a separate health insurance policy.

Medical care and facilities vary between cities and regions, especially in the public sector, while private clinics and hospitals in cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg offer a very high level of care. English-speaking staff are harder to find in public hospitals than in private facilities, but there are sometimes options to arrange for an interpreter to assist patients who do not speak Russian.

  • For more general information on private and public healthcare provision and medical insurance, see the Health System section.

Basic Infant Health

A paediatrician (pediatr / ???????) at local health clinics provides care for babies and children. This includes regular check-ups to monitor growth and development, home visits as required and immunisations (privivki / ????????). Toddlers are monitored from birth until the age of 14 at special baby clinics (detskaya poliklinika / ??????? ???????????) and children’s hospitals.

A family is normally allocated a public clinic near where they live. Alternatively, most expatriates arrange post-natal treatment and care for toddlers in private clinics, as long as it is covered by a health insurance policy.

One significant difference between Russia and some other countries is that a paediatrician usually visits a baby or child at home if they are ill. Paediatricians also have "toddler days" when they almost exclusively see babies younger than 18 months.

Routine “well-child” check-ups are done every month for the first 18 months, then by doctor’s appointment as required after that. The check-ups may be conducted at the clinic or at home, depending on child’s health. At the same time, parents are not obliged to take children to a check-up as often as that. Indeed, many Russian parents choose to visit the paediatrician only when required.

For further details on the care of infants and how to find a hospital or clinic, see the folowing pages:

Vaccinations

There are 18 vaccine-preventable diseases in Russia and children can be vaccinated against 14 of them. However, there is not a standard programme of vaccination (vaktsinatsia / ??????????) and most vaccinations are only recommended, not obligatory. Vaccination is not compulsory for children with allergies.

The range and schedule of vaccinations depend on personal preference and it is common for foreign nationals to use private clinics as opposed to state clinics, and to follow the plan usually implemented in the home country.

The first vaccination (BCG) is commonly given when the baby is just a few days old, so make sure to plan in advance with the doctor before the birth exactly what vaccinations will be given. The first combination vaccine is often given at three months against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio and haemophilus influenza type B.

When applying for nurseries and schools, it is common to be asked for certificates of immunisation, so be sure to keep a record of all a child is given from the doctor.