In the mid-1990s, discussion began about the need for a child health focus within Cochrane. The first exploratory meeting was held in May 1995 in San Diego, California, in conjunction with the meetings of the Pediatric Academic Societies. Thirty-five pediatricians interested in Cochrane attended this meeting. Three further exploratory meetings were held to discuss the formation of the Child Health Field: at the Cochrane Colloquium in Adelaide, Australia in October 1996 (45 attendees); at the Societies for Pediatric Research Meetings in Washington in 1997 (70 people from seven countries); and in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in October 1997.
Initial discussions focused on forming a Collaborative Review Group (CRG) for child health topics. However, early stages of planning suggested that Child Health would be better situated within the Cochrane as a Field, since it overlaps with many of the disease-specific CRGs. Participants at the 1997 exploratory meetings endorsed formal registration as a Field within Cochrane.
In 1997, the Baltimore Cochrane Center (now merged with the New England Cochrane Center) received a one-year planning grant from the Packard Foundation to support development of the Field. In October 1998, Dr. Terry Klassen agreed to lead the effort to establish Child Health which was formally registered as a Cochrane entity on February 7, 2000. Cochrane Child Health has always been located in Canada and is currently housed at the University of Alberta.