Bringing Up Toddlers

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

South Korea is a very child-friendly country and parents will find that their children are welcome in most places. There are many kid-friendly activities and entertainment options available for families.

Most big cities have international kindergartens and playgroups. Smaller towns may only have Korean-speaking pre-schools but foreign children are made welcome.

When renting an apartment in South Korea, parents with young children should check if there is a playground in the apartment block, or at least one nearby. Often this will be the only outdoor space available to families living in big cities, as properties with gardens or back yards are few and far between.

Toddler Health

Health insurance with the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC) is compulsory for foreigners working in South Korea. Dependents are also covered by this insurance.

Any resident in South Korea can go to a Public Health Centre (Bo Gun So). Local councils' policy and budget determine whether services and benefits are free of charge.

To register at a Public Health Centre, the following documents are needed:

  • National health insurance card
  • Passport
  • Foreigner registration card
  • Pregnancy book or San Mo Su Chup, which is given to a woman when her pregnancy is confirmed
  • To find the nearest Public Health Centre (Bo Gun So): Click here (in Korean)
  • To find a National Health Insurance Corporation office: Click here

A medical referral service is also available to foreigners living in South Korea. The programme is a 24-hour, non-profit, volunteer-based service, and can help foreigners to find English-speaking doctors or midwives in their area of residence.

  • Medical Referral Service
    : 010 4769 8212 / 010 8750 8212 for an English-speaking, medically-trained volunteer

A free volunteer interpretation service, the bbb - volunteer service for translation, can also be contacted if a foreigner has communication problems.

All children whose parents belong to the national health insurance scheme receive free health and dental check-ups between four months and six years old.

A notice letter for a child's check up is delivered to their residential address. Check-ups can be arranged by telephone with the local public health centre or participating paediatric practices and hospitals.

A Health Record Book (Aki Gun Gang Su Chup) is given to mothers in South Korea when a baby is born. It is also available from participating paediatric practices and hospitals. All check-ups and vaccinations are recorded in this book.


In South Korea, there are eight recommended vaccinations for children from birth until they are 12 years old. These vaccinations are free at public health centres, participating paediatric practices and hospitals. Optional vaccinations can be arranged at a private paediatrician's practice at a parents' request.

The eight recommended vaccinations are:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough
  • Polio
  • Measles, mumps, rubella
  • Chickenpox
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Influenza