Unless you have children already you may never have heard of this famous ‘red book’. One of the new parents I work with was so excited to receive their red book, she said it was like entering a club she previously knew nothing about! In this week’s blog I will be explaining what the red book is and when and how to use it.
The official title of the red book is Personal Child Health Record. It is used to record all health information in relation to your child. Health professionals such as; GP’s, midwives, practice nurses and health visitors will record weights, immunisations, developmental reviews and physical examinations in the red book.
There are different ways in which new parents receive the red book depending on where you live. It can be given to expected parents at their health visitor antenatal contact prior to baby’s arrival. In some areas where health visitors do not carry out antenatal contacts, it is often midwife teams who give the red book to parents at baby’s delivery either in hospital or at home.
The red book is under constant review by an expert team of child health professionals, to ensure it contains up to date evidence-based information, as well as clear templates to document health assessments and interventions. The book contains helpful sources of information including national and local support networks for parents, information and advice about what to do if you think your child is unwell, current guidelines and advice regarding feeding, sleeping and immunisations.
The red book also includes child growth charts. The World Health Organisation growth charts were designed after a data collection of over 25,000 children in six different countries. The chart lines are growth averages gathered from the data collected. The ‘centile’ charts monitor growth of your child from birth to four years and there are specific charts for pre-term babies. Growth is plotted on the charts to monitor if your child is growing as expected. It is important to highlight children are individuals and no two children will grow and develop at the same rate, even twins.
Your baby’s weight may go up or down, which is normal depending on their stage of development, for example weight often goes up when solids are introduced at six months and back down when baby starts to move around ten months. However, if your child’s weight crosses two centile lines either up or down it can be an indication that further investigations maybe needed. If you are worried please contact your local health visiting team or GP for further support.
If you have any more questions about the red book please contact me @thehealthychildco or firstname.lastname@example.org