Alcohol exposure in pregnancy can induce a broad range of physical and developmental defects in the child, collectively known as foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). In Australia, there are proven gaps in our knowledge and practice for recognising and diagnosing FASD. The challenge for the Australian health professional is agreeing on a model for diagnosing and treating FASD. The diagnostic method must be evidence based, sensitive and specific, and account for other exposures during pregnancy and early life events. Training in application of the diagnostic method needs to be readily available in metropolitan and regional Australia. The University of Washington FASD 4-digit diagnostic code fulfils all of these best practice criteria, recommending itself as the method of choice.