To help you support your child growing up healthy, there is a free children’s check-up programme in Germany called the ‘U-Check-Ups’. A paediatrician regularly checks how your child is doing, how they are developing, what progress they are making, and whether that need medical treatment. It's important to find a paediatrician's office before your baby is born. That way the important U-Check-Ups can be done without delay and at the appropriate times.

The first check-up takes place immediately after birth and the last one happens when your child is about six years old. The programme includes a total of ten check-up dates. They are called U1 to U9 for short. There are actually ten check-ups in total, because in addition to the U7 there is also a U7a. In addition to the U1 to U9 examinations, paediatricians recommend that parents have two more U examinations, U10 at the age of seven or eight and U11 at the age of nine or ten. However, neither of these appointments belong to the health insurance compulsory services and are therefore not automatically free of charge. However, many now cover the costs anyway. Therefore, it is best to check with your health insurance company beforehand.

The aim of the U-Check-Ups is to detect possible illnesses or problems in your child’s development early on in order best be able to treat them. In some babies, for example, the hip joint is not yet fully developed, although this isn’t visible to the naked eye. If this is not treated, there is a risk that they will develop pain when walking, running or standing as adults. At one of the examination appointments, the doctor therefore checks your baby’s hip joints. If these joints are not yet developed enough, the doctor will discuss treatments with you, for example simply using special diapers or pants on the baby for a few weeks.

At every check-up, you will also have the opportunity to ask questions if you are unclear about something or if you are worried about your baby. For example, you can talk to the doctor if your baby hasn’t been sleeping well for a long time or cries more than seems normal. You can also get information about who to contact if you need further support.

At the U-Check-Ups, you will get information about the vaccinations available to protect your child against dangerous infectious diseases. There are several types of vaccinations for children. The doctor will advise you on which of these are important and useful. All recommended vaccinations are free of charge for parents. The costs are paid by through your health insurance.

There are specific time frames during which each of the ten U-Check-Ups should take place. So, it's important that you keep your appointments. There are conditions that can only be detected early enough for successful treatment by a certain age. To make this work, you should make appointments with your paediatrician's office early. The child’s check up booklet, also called the ‘yellow booklet’, will help you with this.

Immediately after giving birth, you will receive a yellow examination booklet from your midwife or from the clinic where you gave birth. The results of all check-ups from U1 to U9 are entered here. You will also find information about what will be examined at which appointment. This ‘U-book’, as it is called in German, is very important. You should keep it safe and bring it with you to every check-up. The yellow booklet contains a participation card that you can take out. After each examination, your paediatrician will record that the appointment took place. The purpose of this card is so you can prove your participation in the U-Check-Ups programme to authorities, schools, day-care centres and youth welfare offices, should this ever be necessary. None of these establishments may require that you allow them to look though the yellow booklet themselves. The results of the check-ups are confidential. So you are free to decide who you allow to look at the booklet and who you don't.

The U-Check-Ups are obligatory in some federal states . In Lower Saxony, you will receive an invitation to the check-ups and a confirmation card after the birth of your child. This card is filled out by your paediatrician and sent to the responsible youth welfare office. This way, the authorities can learn which children are still missing important check-ups.

If you lose the yellow booklet or participation card, you can contact the doctor's office where you take your child for their U-Check-Ups. If you lose your booklet shortly after giving birth, the maternity clinic or midwife can issue you a replacement booklet.