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WellChild/ Tamariki Ora Week March 3rd - 9th 2014

WellChild/ Tamariki Ora Week March 3rd - 9th 2014.

Well Child week kicks off with National Children’s Day on Sunday 2nd March. Organisations all around the country are planning an exciting array of events- fancy a Kings and Queens banquet where children get to be the royalty? or perhaps a kids-only market day?. It seems that every bouncy castle in New Zealand will be out in action too.

Well Child Week 2014 promotes Well Child/Tamariki Ora services- the free checks that all children can receive between birth and starting school. Dr Marguerite Dalton has worked hard on promoting Well Child for 13 years, and she sees these checks as a vital part of giving each New Zealand child the best start in life.

“prevention is always better than cure, and the WellChild/ Tamariki Ora programme gives the whanau chance to be active partners in monitoring the development of their children throughout the vitally imprtant pre-school years”

The checks are designed to assess and monitor children’s growth and development , screen for conditions that may impair normal development or growth ( eg postnatal depression, smoking or family violence ) and educate the whānau around health topics such as healthy nutrition, safety and immunisation .

Each year we put the spotlight on one of the eight core checks, and this year it is the turn of the third core check - done at around 3-4 months of age.

This check is particularly important as it marks the introduction of the Parents Evaluation of Developmental Status Questionnaire (PEDS).

This can pick up developmental problems and also be used over time to monitor a child’s progress. The tool also provides a valuable opportunity for the health professional to discuss the infant’s development with the family and respond to any concerns the family may have with reassurance, reviews, or appropriate referrals.

The PEDS is then used at each subsequent check culminating in the Before School check at 4 – 5 years. With better use of the PEDS we may see earlier detection of some of the problems we are only detecting at this last check.

The three month check is also an opportunity to look at infant and maternal nutrition , encourage the continuation of breast feeding and discuss the timing to introduce solids – when the infant is showing signs of being ready – usually somehwere between four and six months.

“being a parent is a huge responsibility , the 3 month check is an exciting time as the baby starts to take on a real personality of their own and the check presents an opportunity for parents to share their concerns big or small with a professinal trained specifically in this are.”

This third core check is a good time to make sure that the child has commenced their immunisations at six weeks and are on track to get the second dose delivered on time at 3 months.

Other issues discussed at the three month check include postnatal depression, quitting smoking, family violence, safety and SUDI prevention.


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