General child health

Wondering who you turn to for questions about your baby’s health? What about when he/she is sick?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

In this section, we’ll look at:


Free well-baby visits from the ONE/Kind en Gezin

In Belgium, state-run family agencies Office de la Naissance et de l’Enfance (ONE) and Kind en Gezin run free ‘well baby’ clinics and vaccination programmes.

If you give birth in a Belgian hospital, a representative from one of these agencies usually visits to explain the services on offer and take your contact details – a social worker from your local ONE/Kind en Gezin may then be in touch soon after you leave hospital.

‘Well-baby’ checks are offered free of charge at local ONE/Kind en Gezin consultation points (in urban areas there are many centres, while in less accessible areas, mobile clinics are sometimes used).

At these visits, your baby can be weighed and measured, and you have an appointment with a paediatrician and social worker who can answer any questions you may have about your baby’s health and development. If you follow the vaccination programme recommended in Belgium, then vaccinations can also be carried out for free at these appointments.

You will receive a ‘Carnet de l’Enfant’ / ‘Boekje van het kind’ (Book for your child), where all medical details, vaccinations etc. are recorded.

There is no obligation to take advantage of the ONE/Kind en Gezin services. If you prefer, you can centralise all your baby’s care with a pediatrician – or in most cases with your family doctor.

Well-baby checks in daycare

Many daycares arrange to have a team from the ONE/Kind en Gezin visit them to carry out well-baby checks, and vaccinations if necessary.

Again, you are not obliged to take advantage of this.


Paediatrician or family doctor?

In Belgium, is it not uncommon to take children to a paediatrician for check-ups, when they are ill or for vaccinations, and you do not need a referral to do so.

However, unless your baby is very ill, then your family doctor may be a handier and cheaper option.

A visit to a pediatrician can cost around €50 (compared to around €35 for a family doctor), around 75% of which will be reimbursed by your ‘mutuelle’ / ‘ziekenfonds’.

It is also worth remembering that a paediatrician will probably be harder to reach outside of regular working hours, and will usually not carry out home visits.

Note: While some family doctors are happy to see babies and young children, others may prefer not to see babies under the age of 3 or 6 months, or even one year. Ask your own doctor how he/she operates.

Remember that you can have free well-baby visits and vaccinations with the ONE/Kind en Gezin.

How do I find a paediatrician or family doctor?

You can’t beat a personal recommendation for a paediatrician or family, but what if you don’t actually know who to ask?

Below are some of the wonderful Facebook groups that you may be able to access:

You might also find a paediatrician or family doctor via:

  • the hospital where you give birth.
  • a website like www.doctena.be where you can search for various types of doctor by post code.

How do I find an on-duty paediatrician/doctor and pharmacy?

If you can’t reach your own doctor or paediatrician, you can call the relevant central number for Brussels

If your own doctor is not available and you live anywhere in the 19 Brussels communes, you can call +32 (0)2 201 22 22 at any time of day or night.

A qualified operator will take your call and will either:

  • send an on-duty doctor to your house/apartment as soon as possible; or

  • send you to a ‘poste médicaux de garde (PMG)’ / ‘huisartsenwachtpost’ (‘urgent care’ that is not serious enough to warrant a trip to hospital emergency department).

For more information about this service, and for details of who to contact if you live outside Brussels, see here.


Subsidised childcare if your child is too sick to go to daycare/school

Most mutuelles offer a childcare service if your child (from 3 months to 14 years) is too sick to go to daycare/school. Subject to certain conditions and availability, a qualified childminder will come to your home to look after your child.

Note that you will need to have a doctor’s note stating that your child needs to be looked after.

The cost is around €3 per hour, with a maximum of 10 hours per day, and 3 days per illness, and you can usually have 18 days per year per child. Check with your own mutuelle for details.

The childminder only looks after your child – no other domestic tasks can be requested. In Brussels, demand for this service is very high, so you need to contact your mutuelle as soon as you know you will need the service.

Depending on availability, it may be possible to arrange care for the following day.


First aid classes for parents

Following an infant first aid course is an easy way to gain knowledge and skills that can help you keep your children safe and healthy.

  • First aid trainer Kate Ellwood runs ‘First Aid for Parents’ courses (in English) at both:

  • The Belgian Red Cross runs pediatric first aid courses – Croix Rouge courses French and Rode Kruis courses in Dutch.

Neonatal care, emergency departments and children’s hospitals

See Birth > Neonatal care.

The website Hospichild (only in French) is a wonderful resource for any parent whose child needs to be hospitalised. Use Google Chrome’s automatic translation function to view the site in your language.

Also worth mentioning are:


Other useful contacts

Anti-poison centre

If you know or think your child has injested or come into contact with a hazardous substance:

Main helpline: +32 (0)70 245 245 
Website: www.poisoncentre.be

Burns centre

Main helpline: +32 (0)71 448 000

Hôpital Militaire Reine Astrid, Rue Bruyn 1, 1120 Bruxelles 
Tel: +32 (0)2 264 48 48 
Website: http://www.hopitalmilitaire.be (French or Dutch)

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