Child health care in Västra Götaland

Child healthcare in Västra Götaland

Om barnhälsovården i Västra Götaland - engelskaThe content concerns Västra Götaland

Visiting a Children’s Healthcare Centre (BVC) in Västra Götaland

Every child in Sweden has the right to healthcare and is welcome to visit a BVC. “BVC” stands for barnavårdscentral, and these centres are part of local healthcare centres (vårdcentral). From the time a child is born up until she/he starts school, the children’s healthcare service will track her/his well-being, growth and development and provide you, her/his parent, with support.

The most important thing during any visit to a BVC will always be what is best for your child. As her/his parent, you know your child best, and you will have the chance to talk about your child and what it is like to be a parent during your BVC visits.
Sweden has a national children’s healthcare programme that describes which healthcare visits are offered for children from the time they are born until they start school. These visits are adapted to suit children’s and parents’ personal needs. Usually, the BVC nurse will meet with you and your child at your BVC. Sometimes, however, the nurse will visit you at your home instead. Your BVC will give you more information about when it is time for your next healthcare visit.
All children are offered vaccinations in line with Sweden’s national vaccination programme for children.

Everyone who works at a BVC must keep your family’s information private. This means that they are not allowed to share information about your child or about you, their parent, unless you agree to it.

You have the right to use an interpreter if you need one.

All BVC visits are free.

Learn more

Children's healthcare visits and examinations in Västra Götaland


If you do not speak or understand Swedish, you have the right to use an interpreter so that you and your BVC’s staff can understand each other. Tell the nurse at your BVC that you need an interpreter. Your interpreter can interpret for you at your BVC, online or by phone.

You can also get help from an interpreter if you have trouble hearing, or are deaf or deaf and blind. An interpreter can also help you if you have trouble speaking, reading or writing.

Interpreters must keep all information about you private. This means that they are not allowed to share information about you or your child unless you agree to it. Friends and relatives are not required to keep your information private in the same way. Children must never be used as interpreters for their parents.

Learn more

Interpretation services in my language

Interpretation services for people with disabilities (in Swedish)

Who works at the BVC?

Everyone who works at a BVC is a children’s healthcare specialist. During most healthcare visits, you and your child will meet with a specialist nurse who is either a community health nurse (distriktssköterska) or a nurse who specialises in caring for children (barnsjuksköterska). During some visits, you will meet with both a doctor and a nurse. 

If you are worried about your child’s development or behaviour, your BVC might be able to arrange contact with a psychologist. You can also get support if you are having trouble coping as a parent. Your BVC works together with other organisations that support children and their families.

Everyone who works at a BVC must keep your family’s information private. This means that they are not allowed to share information about your child or about you, their parent, unless you agree to it.

Information for parents with newborn babies

You can choose which local healthcare centre (vårdcentral) and children’s healthcare centre (BVC) your child will visit. You will receive information about how to do so from your midwife clinic (barnmorskemottagning). After your baby is born, please call your BVC as soon as possible to book a time for a visit. Your first visit will take place in your home with your baby. In some cases, you might need to bring your baby to your BVC before this home visit.

Support for parents

Sometimes, it can feel reassuring to talk to someone who has experience with children and family life. Often, the kind of questions you have will change depending on your child’s age and what is happening in your family life and in the community. Please feel free to contact your BVC with your questions.

Every parent plays an important role in their child’s health and development. The children’s healthcare service’s work includes helping and supporting you in your role as a parent. In some cases, support for parents is offered through group meetings held at your BVC or family centre (familjecentral). These group meetings will give you the chance to meet and talk with other new parents.

If your child gets sick

There might be some children and parents who visit your BVC who get sick easily. To avoid infecting others, you and your child should not visit your BVC if either of you has an infection, such as a cold, fever, or stomach virus. If you are unsure about what to do, please contact your BVC by phone for advice.

If your child is sick or injured, you are welcome to call your local healthcare centre (vårdcentral).

Dial 1177 on your phone if you need medical advice. The 1177 staff can help you assess your child’s health, or help you find where you can seek medical care. You can also find healthcare information on the website.

Learn more

1177: healthcare advice over the phone (in Swedish)

Disorders and illnesses that commonly affect children (in Swedish)

Choosing and changing your BVC and healthcare centre in Region Västra Götaland

When you choose a local healthcare centre (vårdcentral) for your child, you are also choosing their children’s healthcare centre (barnavårdscentral, BVC). If you do not actively choose a local healthcare centre for your child, she/he will be registered at a local healthcare centre and a BVC close to where you live.

If you are not satisfied with this choice, you can change your child’s local healthcare centre/BVC. To do so, you will need to contact her/his nurse, who will send your child’s medical records to her/his new BVC. Your child’s medical records will be shared between any BVCs she/he visits.

Learn more

Search for local healthcare centres (in Swedish)

Find healthcare services (in Swedish)

Family centre

A family centre is a meeting place where you and your family can spend time with other children and parents. Family centres include a BVC, an open preschool, a midwife clinic and social workers from Social Services. They all work together to help and support you as a family. Both parents and future parents are welcome to visit family centres.

Every child has the right to grow up free from physical, mental and sexual abuse

Every child has the right to grow up free from abuse. To help protect our children, Region Västra Götaland’s BVCs ask families questions about abuse.

In Sweden, physically, mentally, or sexually abusing children is against the law. Growing up with abuse can affect a child’s mental and physical health both now and later in life. For children who experience abuse within their family, the only chance to make a change and get support might be for a person outside of their family to act, such as by contacting the local government’s social services department (kommunens socialtjänst). You can also contact Social Services yourself for advice and support. Anyone who works with children and who believes that a child is at risk is required by law to report their concerns to Social Services.

Helping children by working together with preschools

A young child’s preschool can be an important part of her/his everyday life. Preschool teachers spend a lot of time with your child. Sometimes, children might need extra support to develop well. To give children the very best kind of support, it is important that their BVC, preschool and you, their parent, work together. A child’s preschool will only contact her/his BVC if the child’s guardian agrees to it.

Visiting your BVC without an appointment

If you and your child visit your BVC without booking an appointment first, the nurse might not have time to help you. When your child has an appointment booked at your BVC, that time is reserved specially for you and your child. If you have been called to an appointment at a time when you cannot come, you can usually change your appointment to another time. Call or tell your BVC staff about this and they will help you.

When a child misses a healthcare visit

A lot can happen in a child’s life in what feels like only a short period of time for an adult. When a child misses a planned visit to her/his BVC and her/his family does not contact the BVC staff about it, the nurse will usually first call the child’s family or send a letter inviting them to a new appointment. If the child continues to miss her/his appointments even after her/his family has received several reminders, the nurse may become worried about the child’s well-being. If you know that you plan to travel for a longer period, move house, or change phone number, you need to tell your BVC.

The children’s healthcare service must report concerns about a child’s welfare

A report sent to Social Services about a child whose welfare may be at risk is called an orosanmälan. Such reports are meant to help a child’s family get the support they need so that they and the child can live a happy life.

By law, everyone whose work brings them into contact with children under the age of 18 years must report their concern to Social Services if they believe that a child is at risk. This responsibility to report their concerns is called anmälningsplikt. This includes school staff, childcare workers, healthcare workers and the police, for example. This responsibility applies even when a person works for a private company.

Convention on the Rights of the Child and child health care

On 1 January 2020, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child became law in Sweden. The Convention describes every child’s personal rights. It includes four general principles that form the foundation for the entire Convention:

  • A child’s best interests must be the most important thing in all matters affecting them
  • Children have the right to be heard and to have their views respected
  • No child should be discriminated against
  • Every child has the right to life, survival and development.

Parents have the main responsibility for caring for their child. The children’s healthcare service’s role is to support parents and to make it easier for them to give their child the best possible care, so that their child’s rights are respected.

To the top of the page