Medical care for babies and young children

A person holding a baby with a doctor holding a clipboard

It's normal to worry about your child and to try to keep them as safe as possible. The good news is that babies and young children are a lot tougher than we might think and there are steps that you can take to protect your child from avoidable illness and injury. 

Forgive yourself and your partner for mistakes. Nobody is perfect and remember to take care of yourself. Parents who are feeling lonely, afraid, sad or worried will find it hard to respond to their baby's needs. Have questions about your baby? Call your local public health nurse.


A food allergy happens when the body's immune system thinks a food is harmful.

Recognizing allergic reactions

Typical allergic reactions

Usually, you'll see a reaction within a few minutes or hours after eating. Allergic reactions can include:

  • Hives, swelling, redness and/or a rash
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Itchy and watery eyes that your baby keeps trying to rub
  • Vomiting (that is usually forceful and repeated) and/or diarrhea


Serious allergic reactions

Very rarely, a baby will have a serious allergic reaction. Call 9-1-1 right away if you see:

  • Swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat
  • Pale or blue colour around the face or lips
  • Difficulty swallowing, hoarse voice/cry
  • Hives that spread quickly
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting, weakness, or passing out

Introducing common allergy foods

Introduce common allergy foods one at a time from six months of age. Start these foods after you have offered several other foods such as iron rich meat, chicken, and iron fortified infant cereals. 

Does anyone in your family have asthma, hay fever, eczema or food allergies? If so, your baby might have a food allergy, too. Discuss your family history with your doctor and make sure you know what to look out for.

Common foods that may cause allergy

  • Milk and milk products
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Peanut
  • Tree nuts
  • Soy
  • Seafood
  • Sesame

Tips for introducing new foods

  • Mark your calendar as you introduce these common foods that cause allergy. Or keep a food diary and write down the dates as you introduce these new foods.
  • Offer one of these new foods daily for a few days, watching for signs of reaction. Then try another common food allergen from the list above.
  • Continue to feed your baby foods that they have already tried and tolerated.
  • If baby reacts to a food, stop this food and continue offering other foods.
  • Make a note of this on your calendar or food diary.
  • Discuss with your family doctor.

Do I need to wait to offer foods like eggs or foods with peanuts?

No, you do not need to wait to introduce common food allergens like eggs and peanut. We no longer do this due to a lack of current evidence that delaying specific foods will prevent food allergies. Health Canada suggests delaying introduction of some foods may actually increase risk of developing a food allergy.


Immunizations protect us from serious and potentially fatal infections and diseases.

Benefits of immunization

Immunization is the only way to protect against certain diseases. Immunization (vaccination, shots) is a healthy choice that saves lives. When you immunize your child, you're protecting them against illness and serious harms such as paralysis, deafness, seizures, brain damage, cancer or even death.

BC provides free vaccines to protect your child against 15 diseases:

Getting your child vaccinated

First immunizations are at two months and can be done by your local public health centre or family physician.

Caring for your child after vaccination

Side effects from immunizations are almost always mild and include soreness and fever. In very rare cases, there can be serious side effects. However, the dangers posed by diseases such as measles and polio are a far greater risk. Talk to your doctor or public health nurse if you have concerns.

Prevent getting sick

  • Make hand-washing part of your child's regular routine - The best thing you can do to prevent your child from getting sick is to wash your hands frequently and help them wash their hands often as well.
  • Sneezes and diseases resource guide - Read fact sheets on common infant and childhood illnesses, including how avoid them and how to treat them. 

When your child is sick

  • Keep your child home and away from other people if they have a fever, are vomiting, or have a cold with a very running nose and persistent cough.
  • Seek medical attention if your child has a high fever or you are worried about any other symptoms they are showing.