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Baby and early childhood health issues and concerns

Health checks

Health checks for children aged 0 to 12 years are available through child health clinics. At these clinics, a child health nurse can give you advice and check your child’s development such as:

  • weight, height, body mass index (BMI), and length
  • clinical measurements—for example, breathing and developmental reflexes
  • vision
  • hearing.

Talk to a child health nurse or find your nearest child health centre by calling 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84), or find a community health centre.

Nutrition

Good nutrition is a key part of raising healthy and happy children.

Breastfeeding helps give babies the best start for a healthy life, and gives mothers the best chance for better health and wellbeing. It is recommended that babies are exclusively breastfed until they are 6 months old. Solid foods can then be introduced in addition to continued breastfeeding to 12 months and beyond.

Some parents may need to bottle-feed their baby. The Australian Breastfeeding Association also supports parents who bottle-feed.

Keeping your baby safe

Injury is the leading cause of death and disability among Queensland children. More children die from injury in Queensland than in any other place in Australia.

Unfortunately, the most common place where children’s injuries occur is at home.

As you care for your baby and watch them grow, keep alert to all the ways they can unintentionally hurt themselves.

The most common injuries are:

  • falls
  • drowning (and immersions)
  • burns and scalds
  • poisonings.

Most accidents are preventable. Letting children explore, take risks and try new things are all crucial parts of their development—but it is important to try to reduce the number and severity of their injuries.

Find out more about keeping your baby safe.

Read about babies and first aid.

Safe sleeping for babies

You can reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), by following these national safe sleeping recommendations:

  • Place your baby on their back to sleep, not on their tummy or side.
  • Place your baby with their face uncovered (no doonas, pillows, lamb’s wool, bumpers or soft toys).
  • Avoid exposing your baby to tobacco smoke before and after birth.
  • Provide a safe sleeping environment (safe cot, safe mattress, and safe bedding).
  • Place your baby’s bed in your room, next to your bed, for the first 6 to 12 months.

Visit SIDS and Kids for more information.

Teething

When toddlers and babies are teething, it can be a trying time for them and their parents. Learn how to recognise the signs of teething problems and how to help soothe your baby.

Some babies and toddlers may experience teething problems, such as:

  • red swollen gums
  • irritability and restlessness 
  • flushed cheeks or fever 
  • dribbling 
  • finger and fist sucking.

Any teething problems should only be temporary. If pain persists and causes sleeplessness, ask a health professional (pharmacist, doctor, child health nurse or dentist) for advice.

Mild teething problems may be eased by letting the baby chew on objects such as:

  • crusts of bread 
  • rusks (a type of biscuit)
  • a teething ring.

Rubbing your child's gums with your finger, or applying a small amount of teething gel may also help ease the pain.

Remember:

  • teething should not cause severe illness
  • if your child has a fever or diarrhoea, see your doctor.

Looking after teeth

Brushing should start as soon as the first tooth appears. Low-fluoride toothpaste is recommended for children under the age of 6.

View advice on oral care for babies, infants and children.

Immunisation

To provide the best protection, your child should receive all of their recommended vaccinations

Free health advice 24/7

Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for child health advice ask to speak to a Child Health Nurse.

Free health advice 24/7

Call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for child health advice ask to speak to a child health nurse.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
5 January 2017
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