Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

What does a child health nurse do?

3-minute read

Once you’re home with your newborn baby, your local child health nurse can be a great source of support for you as a parent. As well as offering advice, the nurse will also check your baby’s growth and development. Child health nurse services are free for families with children up to the age at which they start school.

What is a child health nurse?

A child and family health nurse is a registered nurse with extra qualifications in child and family health nursing. Most are also registered midwives (in Victoria, all child health nurses are midwives).

Child and family health nurses are also known as 'maternal and child health nurses' (in Victoria), 'community health nurses' (in Western Australia) and 'child health nurses' (in Queensland).

Meeting your child health nurse

In many parts of Australia, your maternity hospital or midwife will tell your local child health clinic about your new baby. The nurse will probably contact you a week or 2 after you've returned home to make an appointment for the first visit. Often this first visit is at your home.

In the ACT and Queensland, or if you move to a new area with a young child, you may need to get in touch with the service yourself. Contact your local council or health service, or follow the links below to find a local service.

You can also call Pregnancy Birth and Baby on 1800 822 436 to speak to a maternal child health nurse.

What does a child health nurse do?

Your child and family health nurse will usually offer:

Every newborn receives an Infant Health Record from the hospital or birth centre where they're born. This book is often referred to by a colour, such as the 'blue book' or 'green book'. Its colour will depend on the state in which you live.

Your child's health and development information is recorded in this book. You should always bring your child's Infant Health Record to appointments with your child health nurse or any health professional, such as your doctor.

Child health nurses provide ongoing care

Your child and family health nurse can schedule health check visits until your child reaches school age. At these visits, the nurse will check that your child is reaching major developmental milestones. As your child grows, you might discuss issues such as crawling and walking, toilet training, play, tantrums and speech.

If your baby's development seems delayed, your nurse may suggest a visit to your doctor or other health professional — for example, a speech pathologist for speech delays.

You can also visit the nurse at other times; for example, if you have any concerns or difficulties, or you want to weigh your baby.

If your baby is sick, it is best to see your doctor if you can. If you can't or they're not available, see your child health nurse.

For more information

To find your local child health service, go to:

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

Your child and family health nurse | Raising Children Network

Your child and family health nurse can help you with feeding your baby, learning about baby sleep and making sure your baby or child is growing well.

Read more on website

Community Child Health Program | WA Health

Community child health nurses support all families with young children. We provide a range of important free services to support families to raise happy, healthy children. We offer health and development assessments and screening, immunisation advice and support to families with young children.

Read more on WA Health website

Breast refusal and baby biting breast | Raising Children Network

Breast refusal or baby biting breast are common breastfeeding issues. These issues might resolve themselves, or your child and family health nurse can help.

Read more on website

Family health services for you and your baby

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services focus on good health for both mothers and their children.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Child and Family Health Service • Torrens House

Families are encouraged to talk to their CaFHS nurse about their individual situation, and the nurse may refer to Torrens House as the next step

Read more on Child and Family Health Service website

Nurses: for parents & kids | Raising Children Network

Different kinds of nurses work with children. Your child might sometimes see a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, practice nurse or school nurse.

Read more on website

Child and family health: Frequently asked questions - Maternal, child and family health

Child and family health: Frequently asked questions.

Read more on NSW Health website

Baby and child screening and assessment clinics | NT.GOV.AU

The Child Health Service runs health and development screening and assessments for your baby and child.

Read more on NT Health website

Raising a child when your family is overseas

Find the support and advice you need to help you raise your child if your family is living overseas.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Child and Family Health Service • Multicultural Families

The Child and Family Health Service recognises and welcomes families who come from new and established culturally diverse communities around South Australia

Read more on Child and Family Health Service website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.