All children should have regular dental, hearing and vision examinations.
How do I care for my child's teeth?
As soon as your infant's first teeth cut through their gums, parents can start taking care of them. You can read in detail about the steps to take with them for good tooth care on our oral care for children page.
All children should have their teeth checked by a dentist regularly. The BC Dental Association recommends children have their first dentist check by age one, or six months after you see their first tooth. To find a local dentist near you who is accepting new patients, visit the BC Dental Association's Find a Dentist database.
What if I can't afford a dentist?
If you are a member of a low-income family and you do not have extended health coverage, there are several programs that can help you access affordable dentistry for your children. You can also contact the dental program at your local public health unit and ask about resources available in your community.
How do I keep my child's vision healthy?
Eyes are sensitive organs. To help keep children's eyes safe, parents should think about eye injury prevention and ways to prevent eye strain, infections and damage. Find more tips on young children and their vision at HealthLinkBC.
- Do not allow your child to play or run with sharp objects including darts, scissors, sticks or pencils.
- Keep your child away from harmful chemicals.
- Limit your child's television viewing and screen time and keep them at least three metres (eight to 10 feet) away from large screens, and arms' length away from smaller screens.
- Protect your child's eyes from the sun. Ensure they wear wide-brimmed hats outdoors and sunglasses which offer full UVA and UVB protection.
- See your family doctor if your child experiences eye infections such as pink eye (conjunctivitis), blocked tear ducts or other infections.
How do I keep my child's hearing healthy?
Most children born in B.C. hospitals will have their hearing checked at birth with a newborn screening offered through the BC Early Hearing Program. Learn more about what to do if you believe your child has hearing loss or your child is not hearing well.
Protect your child from prolonged exposure to loud noises and be alert to injuries to your child's ears. Make sure they see a family doctor if they have:
- Ear discharge or fluid draining from the ear.
- Earaches and pain in the ear.
- Reddened skin around the ear.
- An object in the ear or an injury to the ear.
How often should my child's vision and hearing be checked?
All B.C. children have their vision and hearing checked at their school during their kindergarten year. If you have any concerns about your young child's vision or concerns about your elementary-aged child's vision, you should have your child assessed by an optometrist.
BC Doctors of Optometry recommends children receive their first eye exam when they are six to nine months old, with a follow up exam at least once between the ages of two and five, and then yearly once they enter school. You can find an optometrist accepting new patients near you at the College of Optometrists of British Columbia's Find an Optometrist database.
In B.C., basic eye exams - one per year - are free up to the age of 18, although some optometrists may charge a small user fee in the area of roughly $35 per visit. The Healthy Kids Program may also be able to support eligible low income families with financial assistance for their child's prescription glasses.
- Fraser Health: Hearing services
- BC Dental Association: Tooth brushing tips for parents and caregivers
- Doctors of Optometry: ABSee program
- BC Association of Speech/Language Pathologists and Audiologists