Developing well

Getting health right in the first few years means that you and your children can enjoy longer, happier and healthier lives.


Good physical and mental health helps us all to reach our full potential, but if things go wrong early on, then that might not happen.

That's why we have to make sure that there are services available to help you and your children all the way through life.

Pregnancy and postnatal health

Making sure that children get off on the right track starts before they're even born.

The decisions you make before and during pregnancy will have a big impact on your child's health and wellbeing.

From smoking to breastfeeding, there's lots of things that can impact on you and your baby's health.

We make sure that services are available to help you make the right choices and to offer you help and support. Find out more on our pregnancy health page.

Babies and toddlers

The first few years of a child's life set the foundation for everything else.

Find out more about the services on offer to support you and your child during the first few years on our baby and toddler health page.

Children and young people's health

We work hard to make sure that services are available to keep your children happy, healthy, safe and well.

From school health checks to vaccinations, active living to parenting support. You can find out more about what is on offer on the children's health page.

Vaccinations

It's recommended that all children are immunised against childhood illnesses such as polio, tetanus, diphtheria, meningitis and measles. Young women also receive the HPV vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer.

Visit the vaccinations page to read more about childhood vaccinations.

Childhood mental health and wellbeing

Often mental health problems start at a young age. Half of adults with a mental illness first experience symptoms by the age of 14. That's why we are working hard to ensure that children and young people get the help they need as soon as they need it.

We offer help and support to children at risk of developing mental health issues. There are also services in place to help young people who are already suffering with a mental health related condition.

Visit our mental health and wellbeing page to find out more.

Healthy choices and active living

Getting children active and eating healthy can be a challenge. But once they're on the right track then they're set up for life.

We help fund services that offer help and support to get your child fit, happy and healthy.

Find out about the Five60 programme, breakfast clubs and services to get children involved in sport on our active lifestyles page.

Weight management

Childhood obesity is a huge public health challenge. Overweight children and adolescents are at an increased risk of developing health problems and are also more likely to become obese adults.

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measures the height and weight of around one million school children in England every year, providing a detailed picture of child obesity.

Find out more about the Child Measurement Programme and other support on our weight management support page.

Health checks at school

Throughout their time at school, your child will be offered a number of health checks and vaccinations. These will only be carried out with your consent however.

These checks are important as they might pick up on conditions early on in a child's life, before they become more serious.

Visit our health checks page to find out more.

Children's health checks

Alongside the routine health checks that are carried out at school, there are other checks and screening programmes that your child might need to take part in. Your GP will talk to you about these if they feel they are necessary.

Find out more about other childhood health checks and screening programmes at the NHS Choices website (opens in a new window).

Support for parents

Being a parent can be difficult and it is important to get help before you start to struggle. Find out about services on offer from our support for families page.

You can also find local help and support on a range of issues at your nearest children's centre. Our centres provide advice on things like early education, childcare, health services and information on a wide variety of other services. Visit our children's centre pages to locate your nearest centre.