Home visiting is a part of the Swedish child health surveillance programme. In the present study, part of a longitudinal prospective project, the predictive power of observations at home visits to 338 newborn babies was evaluated. The regular home visit was made by the nurse at a Child Welfare Centre also using a check-list developed for this project. Her check-list assessments seemed valid in identifying families with stressful psychosocial conditions. When the general home situation was judged as "poor" or "dubious", the boys showed signs of a delayed mental development at 4-5 years of age. Assessments of "feeding problems" among boys were associated with behavioural problems at 4-5 years of age. The results underline the importance of an early home visit as a base for the developmental surveillance at Child Welfare Centres. However, the results of the home visit observations were not followed by any extra interventions at CWC. It seems the nurse should feel confident in her check-list judgement and initiate interventions where appropriate.