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Coat of Arms of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

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Archives of Disease in Childhood was first published in 1926. The Journal is owned jointly by the BMJ Publishing Group and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (formerly the British Paediatric Association). The College was founded in 1996 and the coat of arms of the College has been included on the cover of the Journal since January 1998. An explanation of the symbols in the coat of arms is given below.

The family


Father figure of Thomas Phaire who was the author of the first book on paediatrics in English (1545) in contemporary, academic dress. He is holding scales which signify the role of the College in setting standards and professional examinations.


Mother figure with red hair in modern academic dress resembling Baroness Lloyd of Highbury who was the first woman President of the British Paediatric Association. She is holding a rod with a double stranded helix indicating the importance of science and, in particular, genetics, to advances in child health. The device also refers back to the serpent-entwined staff of Aesculapius.


A child to represent the concept that the aspiration of parents and paediatricians is that the child should reach a level of attainment which is higher than their own. The child has been redrawn from the Coat of Arms of the Foundling Hospital in Coram Fields to show an association with children’s hospitals.

The College


Oak tree on green meadow to represent child development and health. A book to indicate education and scholarship. Two hands shaking to represent friendship, which was one of the first rules of the British Paediatric Association.


Meadow in the shape of a globe to signify the responsibility of the College towards children throughout the world. At the inaugural meeting of the British Paediatric Association, representatives of different regions of the British Isles were appointed and the College is still constituted in this democratic way, as shown emblematically by the rose, the thistle, the shamrock and the daffodil. Maple leaves commemorate Donald Patterson who was the driving force for the inauguration of the British Paediatric Association and served as a leader for the first 20 years.


From Psalm 127, Hereditas Domini filii. Children are a heritage from the Lord.

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