Looking after your baby's health
The Healthy Child Programme offers every family a programme of screening tests, immunisations, developmental reviews, and information and guidance to support parenting and healthy choices.
The programme is delivered by health visitors, midwifery staff, Sure Start Children's Centres, GPs and the primary health care team. It aims to:
- help parents develop a strong bond with children
- encourage care that keeps children healthy and safe
- protect children from serious diseases, through screening and immunization
- reduce childhood obesity by promoting healthy eating and physical activity
- encourage mothers to breastfeed
- identify problems in children's health and development (for example, learning difficulties) and safety (for example, parental neglect), so that they can get help with their problems as early as possible
- make sure children are prepared for school
- identify and help children with problems that might affect their chances later in life.
Your newborn baby will be offered some screening tests in their first six to eight weeks. These include:
- newborn physical examination
- newborn hearing screening test
- newborn blood spot (heel prick) test
Most babies are healthy and won't have any of the conditions the screening tests are looking for. But for those babies who do have a health problem, the benefits of screening can be enormous. Early treatment can improve their health and prevent severe disability or even death. The screening tests are quick and simple, and won't harm your baby in any way. It's recommended that your baby has the tests, but you can decline them if you wish.
See NHS newborn screening to find out more information about each of the tests.
See NHS vaccinations for a checklist of the vaccines that are routinely offered to everyone in the UK free of charge on the NHS and the ages at which they should ideally be given.
If you're not sure whether you or your child have had all your routine vaccinations, ask your GP or practice nurse to find out for you. It may be possible to catch up later in life.
Try to have your vaccinations delivered on time to ensure protection. If you're not going to be able to get to the GP surgery when a vaccination is due, talk to your doctor, as it may be possible to arrange to have the vaccination at a different location.
- Public Health
- 03000 264 109
Our address is:
- County Hall
- Adult and Health Services
- County Durham
- United Kingdom
- DH1 5UJ