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Acknowledgement
The Child and Family Health Service acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of Country throughout South Australia. We acknowledge and respect their ongoing and deep spiritual connection and relationship to land, air, sea, waters, community and country. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

Child Health and Wellbeing: 1 - 5 years

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Family and caregivers are the most important people in children's lives. Supporting your child means looking after their physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing.

Below is a range of free, evidence-based resources on parenting, health and development that have been reviewed by experts, to help you on your parenting journey.

Child and Family Health Service provides free health checks for South Australian children at key developmental ages between birth and five years. Visit our Health Checks page to find out more.

If you are ever concerned about your baby’s health or wellbeing, please speak with your CaFHS nurse who can provide you with support and advice.

Toddlers & Preschoolers

Healthy Hips

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Hip dysplasia, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) or clicky hips, is a condition that affects the hip joints in babies and young children.

Growth & Nutrition

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We all want our children to grow up strong, healthy and happy, and by helping them to eat well and enjoy lots of activity, we can help our children to learn healthy eating and activity habits that will last a lifetime.

Getting preschoolers to eat a healthy diet can sometimes be challenging. Below are some practical tips and resources.

Vision

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Good vision is essential to your child’s overall development. Vision disorders can interfere with your child’s ability to learn and perform daily activities.

  • Do your child’s eyes appear to cross or wander?
  • Have you noticed anything unusual about your child's vision?
  • Does your child hold things close?
  • Does your child squint?
  • Have your child's eyes been injured?
  • Is there any family history of serious childhood eye disease?
  • Do you have any concerns about your child’s vision?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, we recommend seeing your GP or local optometrist for further assessment.

Read the Open Your Eyes to Your Child's Vision brochure or visit the Open Your Eyes website to find out more about the stages of visual development.

Hearing

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Did you know that one in ten children suffer from hearing loss? If left undetected, this can affect your child’s learning, socialising and overall quality of life. There are many reasons hearing can be affected. For more information refer to the Blue Book.

Some signs that your pre-schooler may have trouble hearing include:

  • Not responding when called
  • Complaining about a ringing sound in their ears (tinnitus)
  • Pronouncing words incorrectly

If you have any concerns about your child’s hearing, CaFHS recommends seeing your GP for a healthy ears assessment.

Sound Scouts is a great app that provides mobile access for a hearing check that delivers an immediate report for parents/caregivers, including next steps if a hearing loss is detected. You can download the app here - Sound Scouts.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Deadly Kids SA is a great resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as it promotes ideal ear and hearing health.

Dental Care

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Have you checked your child’s teeth and gums lately?

Looking after your child's first (baby) teeth helps give their adult teeth a good start.

Care for your baby's teeth by:

  • cleaning their teeth when they first appear with a small soft toothbrush or clean cloth.
  • brushing twice a day after breakfast and before bed
  • avoiding toothpaste until 18 months
  • using only breastmilk, water or formula in their bottle
  • not putting your baby to bed with a bottle
  • Clean your baby's dummy under running water (not in your mouth).

Healthy teeth and gums are vital to your preschooler’s general health. It is recommended to check your child’s teeth and gums every month for tooth decay.

This Lift the Lip Poster illustrates simply lifting the upper lip and checking the outer surface of the front teeth and help you to recognise signs of tooth decay. If you are concerned about your child’s teeth or gums, please contact SA Dental Clinics.

Development

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Development is all about how your child grows physically and emotionally while learning to communicate, think and socialise. All children are different and some will do things faster or slower than others.

Take a look at the Child Development Checklist for parents/caregivers to see how your child is developing. Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, please contact your GP or CaFHS for further support.

Speech and Language

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Children's Communication Milestones, produced by Speech Pathology Australia, provide a series of information sheets for parents/caregivers to better understand the different speech milestones for children aged 1-5 years.

The information sheets can help find a Speech Pathologist if you are unsure about whether your child is having difficulty with his or her speech, language and communication.

Immunisation

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Immunisation is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your children, and others in our community against certain diseases.

Research and testing is an essential part of developing safe and effective vaccines. In Australia vaccines must pass strict safety testing before the Therapeutic Goods Administration will register them for use. If you are worried about immunisation, talk to your GP or CaFHS nurse about your concerns. You can find out more on the Australian Government Health website.

Immunisation is a simple, safe and highly effective way of protecting children and adults from harmful diseases before they come into contact with them. It is estimated that vaccinations currently save up to 2.5 million lives worldwide each year.

Immunisation starts at birth and then immunisations are due at 6 weeks of age and at 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age with a booster due at 4 years of age.

It is important for children to complete the full recommended course or schedule of vaccinations at the recommended times. Sometimes it is possible to ‘catch-up’ the doses if the vaccinations are not given on time. Not getting the full course of vaccinations can leave a child unprotected and at risk of disease.

All vaccines under the Childhood Immunisation Program are available through your doctor, some community and Aboriginal health services or some local council immunisation clinics. See the Immunisation services page for more information.

At four years of age

At this age, your child will get one immunisation to protect your child from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio. It’s given by a single injection, usually in the arm.

For further information about children and immunisations, check out Department of Health’s ‘Questions about Vaccinations’ booklet.

To view the entire childhood vaccination program schedule, check out the Childhood Immunisation Program on the SA Health website.

Preschool Health Check

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CaFHS offers face-to-face preschool health checks with parents/caregivers and our clinics and at some kindergartens and preschool centres across the State.

You can find further information about the areas that form part of the preschool health check in our Preschool Health and Development Check fact sheet below. You are encouraged to read through and write down any area that you have concerns about and wish to discuss with your CaFHS nurse.

Alternatively, your child’s ‘Blue Book’ contains further information on hearing and vision, development and growth, teeth and dental health and immunisations.

Where to go for help

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If you have any health and development concerns about your child, we encourage you to make an appointment with a CaFHS nurse on 1300 733 606 or contact your local GP for further support and information.

The Commonwealth funded Raising Children website is a great online resource for all child, family and parenting related information.