This section provides some top tips and up to date advice on caring for your child and keeping them healthy.
Healthy weight: Childhood obesity is on the rise and is one of the most serious risks to public health across the world. Children who are overweight are at increased risk of poor health outcomes such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mobility problems and poor mental health.
Obesity is creeping up on us as a society and research has found that most of us do not really notice that we are carrying a few extra pounds until the problem has become literally very “large”. 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese at school entry, rising to 1 in 3 at the end of primary school.
The habits that we learn in early childhood last a lifetime. Let’s help our children stay on track for a healthy future.
Introduce your child to healthy foods, control portion size, limit snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar, and encourage an active lifestyle. You often do not need to change very much to notice a big difference.
Caring for your child’s teeth
Getting children to clean their teeth may be challenging, but it is worth the effort. Establishing a regular routine, making it fun and using a toothpaste that contains fluoride will make a big difference. Did you know that tooth decay is easily preventable and is the most common reason for hospital treatment under a general anaesthetic for children in the UK? Sugary drinks and snacks are the most common cause of tooth decay. For further information you can contact your local Health Visiting Team, see our Useful information section and download the Change 4 Life Sugar App.
Children’s NHS dental care is free. Find an NHS dentist.
Your child should have had all their primary immunisations, but will need to have a pre-school booster which is normally given when they are 3 years and 4 months old. Your child will be offered the 4-in-1 pre-school booster vaccine and the 2nd dose of MMR. More information is available at NHS Choices - vaccinations.
In the autumn/winter the annual flu vaccine will be available from your GP for children aged two, three and four years old in Hampshire. The flu vaccine for children is given as a single dose of nasal spray squirted up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free (a big advantage for children), the nasal spray works even better than the injected flu vaccine. Read more about all groups of children and adults who are eligible for flu vaccine at NHS Choices.
In the UK, accidental injury is the second largest cause of death for children and young people after cancer (Child Accident Prevention Trust 2012)
The Child Accident Prevention Trust believe that:
“Accident prevention is not about restricting children or wrapping them up in cotton wool, instead it is about creating safer environments, both in the home and elsewhere, to enable children to thrive and lead a healthy active life.”
Children need to explore, experiment and begin to take risks as they grow-up and learn about the world they live in. In time they begin to get better at judging risks but they can sometimes over-estimate their ability and as they gain more independence they begin to challenge things that adults tell them. Lots of useful information is available at NHS Choices - accidents to children in the home.