Your health service

Once your child reaches the toddler stage, you will continue to have contact with your health visitor until your child starts school.

You can phone your health visitor in between planned visits. He or she probably gave you the right phone number to use during your first visit. It will also be in your Red Book, if you have one. The best time to call is first thing in the morning or towards the end of the day. If you have to leave an answering machine message, he or she will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Make the most of your GP

Your GP provides unconditional, continuous care for the whole family. Your baby will be registered at the same practice where you are a registered patient. Babies are seen frequently by their GP particularly in the first two years of life in the diagnosis and management of illness and the promotion of health and wellbeing. Your GP also works very closely with the health visitor to ensure the best health for your baby. Most health concerns can be dealt with by the GP and extended primary health care team but occasionally your GP will refer your baby to a specialist who may be based at a hospital or community setting.
Contact out of hours GP services if your toddler has any health issues outside the normal opening times.

Check it out

There are three routine immunisations during the toddler years. Your booklet A guide to childhood immunisations provides information on these, including describing what they are being protected against, and also answers some of the most common questions about immunisations. Your health visitor will also be able to help answer any questions you might have or visit immunisationscotland website for further information.

There are three planned health reviews during the toddler years. If your health visitor feels your child needs any more, he or she will discuss this with you. Assessing your child’s wellbeing and needs within the context of your family and your wider environment is at the centre of your child’s health review.


  • Hib/MenC - Protects against Haemophilus influenzae b and meningococcal C infections, which can cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia).
  • MMR - Protects against measles, mumps and rubella.
  • Pneumococcal (PCV) –Protects pneumococcal infections, which can cause meningitis, ear infections, pneumonia and other serious diseases.
  • Men B – Protects against meningococcal B infections which can cause meningitis and blood poisoning (septicaemia).


  • To assess if your child is the appropriate weight for their height.
  • To observe your child’s speech, language and communication development.
  • To answer any concerns about your child’s development, health or wellbeing.
  • To discuss your child’s personal, social and emotional development.
  • To observe your child’s vision, hearing and oral health.
  • To discuss your child’s level of physical activity and play.
  • To discuss with you your health and your families relationships and circumstances.

Child flu

The flu vaccine is offered to all children in Scotland aged 2–5 years (and not yet in school) at their GP practice between October and December (children must be aged 2 years or above on 1 September 2016 to be eligible). It is also offered to all primary school children at school.

For more information visit the Immunisation Scotland website.

3- 5 YEARS

  • DTaP/IPV: Protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and polio.
  • MMR: Protects against measles, mumps and rubella
  • From age 2-5 years – your child will be offered flu immunisation each year to help protect them against the flu virus.

My toddler’s ill – who should I contact?

probably left their number when you first saw them or you can find it in your child’s red book, if you have one. The red book is a record of your child’s health checks and immunisations and your health visitor should be able to supply you with one.

  • The best time to call your health visitor is first thing in the morning or towards the end of the working day. They will usually have an answering machine, so leave a message if they’re not in.
  • Weekly baby clinics are often held in the GP surgery and are a good way of reaching your health visiting team. You can also contact them through local parent and child groups, nurseries and children’s centres.
  • Your family doctor is there to help you if your child is ill or if they have a chronic condition such as eczema or asthma. You won’t always come away with a prescription. Your tot’s illness may get better on its own and overuse of antibiotics can lead to them being less effective.

What questions will the health visitor or doctor ask?

Don’t forget to take your child’s red book and be ready to answer the following questions:

  • How long has your child been ill?
  • What are the symptoms – rash, coughing, diarrhoea?
  • If there is a rash, where is it and is it itchy?
  • Has your child been in contact with anyone with a similar illness?

What questions might I want to ask the health visitor or doctor?

  • Can I expect any side effects from this vaccination and if so what can I do to ease them?
  • Is my child walking properly?
  • Can you explain the weight chart? Is my child the expected weight for their height and age?
  • Do you think my child is developing normally?
  • Are there any local support groups, networks or contacts that would be useful for me?
  • When do you next want to see my child?
  • Plus any questions you may have about food and nutrition, safety, looking after their teeth or anything else you’re worried about.

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Last updated: 7 February 2018