What Is A Red Book?
Did you know?
Just before or after their child’s birth, a family will be given a personal child health record (PCHR). It usually has a red cover and is known colloquially as a “red book”. This is where families record their children’s height, weight, vaccinations and any other important information, in order to keep track of health, milestones and development.
While red books are mainly for families and healthcare professionals to record their children’s development, they can be very useful for practitioners as well. Being aware of how children are hitting their milestones enables us as practitioners to better support their development.
Children’s red books will be updated by health professionals when they attend health reviews. If there are no concerns about a child’s health and they are gaining weight, they will usually be weighed:
- once a month up to 6 months of age.
- once every 2 months from 6 to 12 months of age.
- once every 3 months over the age of 12 months.
At 9-12 months children will be offered a health review that includes language and learning, safety, diet and behaviour. This will usually be done by a health visitor.
At 2-2.5 years children will have another health and development review. This can be done by a health visitor or nursery nurse and may be carried out at your setting. Before this review, families are asked to fill out an ASQ-3 questionnaire, which covers:
- general development, including movement, speech, social skills and behaviour, and hearing and vision.
- growth, healthy eating and keeping active.
- managing behaviour and encouraging good sleeping habits.
- tooth brushing and going to the dentist.
- keeping the child safe.
Children’s families may ask for help in filling out these questionnaires from practitioners at their child’s setting.
It’s important to remember that all children develop at their own pace and no child can be held to strict developmental milestones. However, keeping track of their progression in the red book, and being aware of average development speeds, can help families and professionals ensure their child is getting the support they need if they do seem to be falling behind.
For more information, visit the NHS website.
The red book will now be digitised for every child born from April 2023, in a push by the health secretary to speed up plans for digital personal child health records. For more information on this scheme, visit the eredbook site.