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Children’s health

If your child has a municipality of residence (kotikunta) in Finland, he or she is entitled to public health services. You can find more information on the Infopankki web page Municipality of residence in Finland.

If you are covered by Finnish national health insurance (sairausvakuutus), you can take out an insurance policy for your child, which covers the costs of private health care.

When a child falls ill

A feverish child or one who is otherwise ill cannot be taken to day care. If a child has a cough or a cold but is otherwise well, he or she can go to day care. When a child under 10 years of age suddenly falls ill, the child’s mother or father can stay at home to look after him/her. This type of temporary child care leave can last for up to four days. The collective bargaining agreement states whether or not salary will be paid for this period.

If a child is ill and needs a doctor or a nurse, contact the health centre (terveysasema) in your municipality or a private clinic. Health centres are open from Monday to Friday, usually from 8 am to 4 pm. It is best to call the health centre in the morning as soon as it opens for appointments. The person making your appointment will evaluate what kind of treatment the child needs.

If a child falls ill during a school day, he or she will be treated at school. If necessary, the child will be taken to the city’s or municipality’s health centre.

In the evenings and at weekends health centres are closed. At these times, acute cases and accidents are treated at emergency clinics (päivystys). If your child’s illness does not require immediate treatment, wait until the health centre opens again. Emergency services for children and the young are often arranged in a separate unit.

You can also make a doctor’s appointment at a private clinic. These are also often open in the evenings, and sometimes you can get an appointment faster there. However, private health services are much more expensive for the customer than public ones.

If you suspect that a child has ingested poison, you can ask the Poison Information Centre (Myrkytystietokeskus) for advice. The centre’s helpline is available 24 hours a day and its phone number is (09) 471 977.

If a child’s life is in danger or they have an accident, call the emergency number (hätänumero) 112. Ambulances are meant only for serious and urgent situations. Do not call the emergency number in an ordinary case of illness. You can find more information on the Infopankki web page Emergencies.

linkkiKela:
When a child falls illFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiKela:
Reimbursements of the costs of private medical treatmentFinnish | Swedish | English

Young children’s health

Child health clinics (lastenneuvola) tend to the health of children under school age. These clinics monitor and support the physical, mental and social growth and development of young children. At a child health clinic, children visit either a doctor or a nurse. Families with a child who is less than one year old are invited to a child health clinic at least nine times. After the first year, families are invited to a child health clinic at least six times more.

The clinic’s nurse monitors children’s development, vaccinates them and provides information about healthy nutrition. The nurse also visits a child’s home soon after birth.

The child health clinic services of your own municipality are free-of-charge. If you have a municipality of residence in Finland, you can use these services in your own municipality. You can find more information on the Infopankki web page Municipality of residence in Finland.

Children are given their personal child welfare clinic card (neuvolakortti) at these clinics. Always take the card along when you visit a child health clinic. The nurse will enter your child’s health information and vaccinations on it.

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Information on maternity and child health clinic servicesFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian

School-age children’s health

Every school has a doctor and a nurse assigned to it. The nurse checks the children’s health at school. The nurse is at the school on certain days of the week. Pupils can go and see the nurse themselves if they have a problem. If an accident occurs at school, the child involved will be given first aid. The website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö) provides information about school health care.

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
School health careFinnish | Swedish

Vaccinations

In Finland, children are offered the possibility of vaccination (rokotus) against many infectious and contagious diseases. Vaccinations are given at child health clinics (lastenneuvola) and in schools. Vaccinations that are a part of a vaccination programme are free of charge to the parents. Vaccinations are voluntary. The majority of children in Finland are given the vaccinations included in vaccination programmes. Tell the nurse which vaccinations your child has been given before coming to Finland.

If you want your child to be given a vaccination that is not in the vaccination programme, make an appointment with a doctor. The doctor can write a prescription for the vaccination, and the nurse can vaccinate your child. You must buy the vaccination yourself from a pharmacy.

linkkiThe National Institute for Health and Welfare:
Finland's vaccination programmeFinnish | Swedish

Long-term illness or caring for a disabled child

If you are caring for a sick or disabled child who is under 16 years of age at home over an extended period, you can apply for special care allowance (erityishoitoraha) from Kela. You may also receive support for your child’s rehabilitation (kuntoutus) from Kela. A child with a serious illness or disability may be granted a disability benefit for persons under 16 years of age (alle 16-vuotiaan vammaistuki) by Kela. Kela’s benefits are intended for people who are covered by Finnish social security.

You can find more information about life with a disabled child in Finland on the Infopankki web page Disabled child.

linkkiKela:
Special care allowance for a person under 16 years oldFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiThe Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela:
Disability benefit for a childFinnish | Swedish | English

Circumcising boys

A circumcision (ympärileikkaus) is always an irrevocable operation. If it is performed for a non-medical reason, a boy’s bodily integrity is violated. A circumcision may only be performed by a qualified doctor. A written consent from the boy’s guardians is required for the circumcision. If the child has two guardians, both of them must consent to the operation, or otherwise, it must not be performed. The boy has the right to refuse the operation. A circumcision must not be performed without pain relief provided by a doctor, and it must be performed under sterile conditions. A non-medical circumcision is not covered by publicly funded health care, so it cannot be performed at a public health centre, and it must be paid by the party who is having it performed.

You can ask for more information on circumcision from a maternity clinic, a doctor at a health centre, a school nurse or a school doctor.

Circumcising girls

A circumcision (ympärileikkaus) of a girl is a crime in Finland and can lead to several years’ imprisonment. It is also a crime to take a girl to another country to have a circumcision performed on her.

linkkiAfrican Care:
Circumcision of girls and womenFinnish | English | Somali | Arabic