Health checkup for kids in Japan

There will be regular health checkup for every baby born in Japan. Depending on the ward/ city you are living, the schedule of checkup varies.

In my city, we have a medical checkup for my baby at 1 month, 4 months, 10 months, 18 months, 2 years and 3 months, 3 years etc. This timing also depends on the ward/ city you belong to.

At various ages, the health department checks the health conditions of your baby, his/her weight, height etc. Also, they will give advice about how to take care of the baby at that particular age, what all activities are expected from him/her, when and what kind of foods are preferred etc. Every checkup voucher and details will be received in your mail one month prior to the scheduled timing. It includes some screening questionnaire, details about what all things to be taken with you, program schedule etc. This is my experience at Tajimi city when I went with my baby for the monthly checkups.

At one and half months(at home)

The one and half month health checkup by the Tajimi city was done at my home.  As 1 month after delivery is the time period for the mother to take complete rest, they will come to us with necessary gadgets. One of the healthcare professionals from the city’s healthcare division called me on phone 2 weeks before visiting my home. She enquired about our convenient time for her to make a visit. She came home with weight checking machine and some other items.

Health checkup: Baby’s weight, height, and head circumference were measured and noted in the Boshitecho. Then she tested the eyesight and hearing abilities of my baby using a red-coloured rattle. She asked to fill up a questionnaire and give us details about the fourth-month health checkup.

At 4 months
I got the papers asking to go for the forth-month checkup of my baby at her 2 months. I was asked to reach the city hall by 8.45. They took my filled-up forms and Boshitecho, gave a token and asked to wait there with other moms and babies born in the same half-month.

Gift from Tajimi library: There were some volunteers running around, talking with the parents and reading books to the babies. It was an element of great surprise for me, as they were reading books to those six months old little kids. But they were telling us that babies will listen to it and grasp the words they are hearing. One of the staff gave me some books and asked me to read it for my kid. Tajimi library provided three books among which we can select one as a gift from them. For the six-month-old baby, putting everything in their mouth and chewing will be their prime motive. So I selected this book for my baby as it has some thick waterproof papers.

Baby’s first solid food: They called us by token numbers, 10 by 10 into the rooms where they gave advice about what to be given to the baby as her first food. In Japan, the first solid food is given at six months which is called Rinyuushoku(離乳食). They advised us to boil small pieces of potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin etc. and mash to make a paste for the baby. And reminded not give more than one spoon for the first time. It is for checking any allergic reaction to the food items.

Plays and song: The second classroom section for the moms was done by a daycare staff, who sung for the baby and asked moms to repeat it along with moving the babies rhythmically in their lap.

Health checkup: Along with all these sections, everyone was called into the health checkup room one by one, where the baby is checked for his weight, height, the circumference of the head etc. Also, a physician checked baby’s health and bodily conditions and provide reports about that.

Discussion with the staff: Every kid and their parents(accompanied person) will be having a personal discussion with one of the staffs at the childcare division of the city. They asked about the experiences about child care and difficulties if any.

If some issue is found, they will refer you to some clinic/ hospital where you have to take your baby for a detailed medical examination. By God’s grace, I was given a satisfactory report by the healthcare professional. A list of baby-friendly cafes, restaurants, some parks, and playrooms where also provided.

2. 10 months checkup

By 10 months, most kids will be sitting straight without any support. When we went for the 10 months medical examination, some kids including mine were playing and interacting with each other. This time we enjoyed playing with other kids and talking with their moms.

Classrooms: The classrooms were about playing with kids, taking care of babies milk teeth, amount of food to be given to them etc. They gave a toothbrush as the gift for the kids.

Health checkup: A medical examination was done by a physician, he tried pulling up the baby lying on the bed on her arms to check her strength, and asked her to move on her knees etc. The body weight and height were also checked. This time, my baby was crying loudly once her dress was removed. She became scared about doctors and hospital as well as removing her tops as she is getting more than one needles of vaccination every month.

Checkup voucher for the mother(cervical cancer): A  voucher for me to get tested for cervical cancer was issued by the city office which I can take to any hospital or ladies clinic. I have to pay 700 yen at the hospital(without the voucher it costs much more).

During 10-month health checkup

Discussion with the staff and Food for baby: They gave a very tiny(as it is) plate of food for baby, which was stirred potatoes, onion, and spinach in butter. My kid like that and she really wanted to have another plate, as the time was too late for her lunch. Along with that she checked the baby’s likes and dislikes in food, plays etc. They made friendly talk about my kid and played with her for a while(it is also part of kid’s ability checking) and gave advice on how to deal with kid’s dislikes.

3. 1 and half years checkup

Dental checkup for kid and mother: This checkup also included the usual medical check-up along with a dental checkup for the mother. The dentist checked kid’s teeth as well as mine and medical report about the condition of teeth. I was asked to meet the dentist after that.

Teeth care class and brushing method lessons: They conducted classes about how to brush baby’s teeth and check if the current brushing method of ours is correct or not. They coloured kids teeth with some pink stain and gave a toothbrush to me asked to get my kid brushed in front of them. I did it, but the method was not satisfactory for them. They told me that the pink liquid will stain the dirtiness of the teeth and once we brush it the entire stain must go away. For my kid, the pink stain colour most portion of her front teeth.  Actually, my baby was eating rice just before entering the room. They show me how to brush baby’s teeth and asked to repeat it there. My baby has a very light brown spot on one of her front teeth. They brushed a small amount of some medicinal paste on her teeth and asked not to take drinks or foods for the next 30 minutes.  I noticed it some weeks ago and already take her to a dentist, who also gave the same treatment and reports about that brown discolouration. They gave toothbrushes and advice about our family teeth care.

Amount of food for toddler: There was also classroom sections about the amount as well the items to be included in kid’s diet.

Song, Plays, and stories: A section by the daycare staff sang songs and read stories for the kids which all of them enjoyed and responded to them.

Discussion with the staff: This time they were checking the baby’s talking ability. She showed some pictures and asked my baby what it is. My kid was shy to talk with unknown persons and hence she didn’t reply. The staff then asked her to arrange some wooden blocks one above the other. She was fond of the red and green blocks which she grabbed it away. She refused to do what the staff asked. I could notice that even in between the smiles on her face, the staff lady got annoyed, but she tried her best not to reflect it on her face. Later, my kid told the English names of the pictures shown, but the staff was not at all satisfied. She advised me to teach the Japanese words also. Anyway, this time my baby was crying for those wooden blocks when we returned after the discussion.

3. 2 years and 3 months checkup

Dietary concerns: As usual, they talked about the amount of food to be given to kids of two years of age. And talked about the common characteristics, dos and don’ts of a two year old kid.

Song, Plays, and stories: A section by the daycare staff sang songs and read stories for the kids which all of them enjoyed and responded to them. This time plays needed more active participation of moms and kids with songs and dance.

Discussion with the staff: This time’s talk with the staff didn’t take much time. She showed some pictures of animals and other items for which my baby replied with the corresponding names. She is not good at Japanese since we are teaching her English words more often. So she told like ‘Dog’, ‘Scissors’, ‘Triangle’ etc. But the staff with whom we talked was entirely satisfied with that. Maybe a part of this routine medical and health checkup, she used two paper glasses one in red colour and other in green colour to hide a small puppy and moved it around on the table. Then she asked my kid to find the glass with a puppy in it. She was able to find it easily by remembering the colour of the glass holding it. Then we talked about our future plans of schooling and stay in Japan.

Teeth checkup and brushing: They checked the teeth of baby and used the same pink stain to check the teeth cleanliness. It was satisfiable for them. Still, they brushed her teeth thoroughly during which time my daughter was crying all the time(And of course most of the other kids too).

 

The next checkup will be held when she turns 3 years (In Nov 2018) old. I will keeupdating this section.