5 Potential Medical Expenses Incurred in Your Child’s Early Years

While contemplating the illnesses and injuries that could befall your child is not an enjoyable exercise, it’s necessary in order to get a sense for the potential medical costs of the early years.

Sihan Chia

by Sihan Chia on Mar 2, 2024

medical costs for children


Children in their first six years encounter a wide range of new experiences, from trying new foods to new activities. Unfortunately, many of these involve a heightened risk to their well-being, from catching the flu at school to coping with the emerging symptoms of a persistent condition such as asthma or ADHD. Here are five different medical expenses for parents to look out for.

Contagious Illnesses

While sending your child to daycare and school is a natural part of introducing him to society, it also means joining the herd as far as infectious diseases are concerned. Sicknesses like the common cold and chickenpox will eventually reach almost every child. While these are usually neither serious nor expensive in terms of treatment, they can force parents to stay home from work to provide care.

If you haven’t already stocked up on some basic pain relief medication such as Tylenol for kids, it would be a good idea to do so if your child is regularly spending time with groups of other kids. However, one of the most common pieces of advice from pediatricians diagnosing common infections is to just wait it out, which costs nothing.

Related: How Much Does it Cost for Millennial Families to Raise a Child?

Asthma and Respiratory Issues

The rising frequency of asthma cases has long been a concern in developed nations, and the urban density of Singapore makes for no exception. While the difficulty in breathing that asthma causes is usually manageable through the use of inhalers, the cost of such medication is significant. Combined with the occasional need for parents to stay home and provide care for asthmatic children, the condition can have a noticeable impact on a family’s finances.

Symptom control level:UncontrolledPartly controlledWell controlled
Medication and treatment:S$6,000S$3,680S$1,430

Source: Economic burden of asthma in Singapore

The table shows the costs of both asthma medication and the work absenteeism that it causes, according to a recent study of Singaporean households with children who have asthma. The large difference in cost among the three groups is due to varying levels of symptom control — when symptoms interfere with sleeping or normal activity more than a few times per week, costs can rise quickly.

Dental Checkups

parenting child dental brushing teeth
Source: Unsplash

You should take your child to the dentist for the first time around their first birthday, and every six months thereafter. When provided through public institutions, these visits can cost as little as S$9 for consultation and ensure that potentially costly complications are detected early and handled before they worsen .

If you choose a private option, pediatric dentists can cost significantly more in exchange for care that may be more tailored to your child’s needs. In that case, you can expect each visit to cost between S$50 to S$150 for consultation fees. To avoid the expense of additional procedures, make sure to brush your child’s teeth regularly and to wean them from nighttime bottle feedings as soon as they’re old enough.

Unexpected Hospitalisation 

No matter how careful parents are, there’s always a non-zero chance of children encountering physical accidents or sudden acute illnesses that require professional care and other medical expenses. In the unfortunate situation of a hospital stay for your toddler to recover, the cost of accommodation can be considerable.

Typical Nightly Cost of a Children’s Hospital Room

Public Hospital (KKH, NUH)Private Hospital
Private roomS$609.31S$782.62 
2-bed sharedS$521.02 
4-bed sharedS$315.20 S$401.12 

As you may expect, it’s much more expensive to obtain a private space in the hospital than it is to share space with other patients. Depending on how severe your child’s condition is, it may be preferable to make the trade-off between less privacy and a more manageable hospital bill. Keep in mind that the costs of actual treatment and medication will add to these numbers.

Related: How to Find the Best Health Insurance

Mental Wellness

man work from home mental wellness health
Source: Unsplash

This might be one of the most unexpected medical expenses among parents.

One of the most common neurological disorders among children and adolescents is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) . In Singapore, the prevalence of ADHD among children and adolescents ranges between 5 percent and 8 percent, and among adults between 2% and 7%.

While popular theories and scepticism  around the condition abound, professional diagnosis and treatment is  the only way to be sure whether your child truly needs specialised  mental care. If your child seems to have trouble remaining still or focusing on tasks to the degree that other children seem to be capable of, it may be worth obtaining a professional medical opinion.

If doctors confirm that your child should be given medication or therapy to manage a mental condition like ADHD, you’ll likely want to start by reading over the terms of your health insurance coverage.  If your current plan doesn’t cover treatment for mental disorders,  it may be a good decision  to switch providers early on before your costs mount. As a point of reference, consider that recent research in the United States estimated that it cost parents five times more than usual to raise children with ADHD.


Unexpected medical expenses may be incurred in the process of raising a child. To be better prepared as parents, be sure to get ample insurance coverage for your child and save up for a rainy day by building up your emergency fund. Check out our round-up of the best health insurance plans and savings accounts in Singapore and protect your family today.


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