Parents urged to maintain developmental health checks

Penrith mum Clarinda Oliveux and her then six-month-old, Jordan.
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Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District has joined forces with local parents and their children to launch ‘The First 2000 Days’ campaign.

Many people opted to avoid healthcare settings and delay important health checks during the pandemic, and as a result, there has been a decline in the number of families attending for important developmental checks with their children under the age of five.

Now health experts are calling on parents to visit their closest community health centre and give their little ones the best start in life.

The multimedia campaign features local parents and their children, from one week to four-years-old, to encourage families to book a free milestone assessment at their closest community health centre.

Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District’s (NBMLHD) Family Health Manager, Leanne Clayton, said the first 2000 days of life are critical for physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.

“Developmental checks for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers are a crucial component of a child’s first 2000 days of life,” she said.

“Almost 90 per cent of brain development occurs before the age of five, known as the first 2000 days of life.

“Our developmental checks allow our child and family health nurses to work with parents to help their child reach their full potential if they detect any issues.”

Penrith’s Clarinda Oliveux knew the importance of developmental checks when she took her then six-month-old Jordan for a check-up at her local community health centre.

“Even if I have no concerns, the visits reassure me Jordan is on track for his age,” she said.

“The nurses are very thorough and I can ask questions I may not ask my doctor.

“They are providing me with support, education, and information on all aspects of parenting until Jordan is ready for school.”

Clarinda and Jordan are part of a multimedia campaign featuring local parents and their children from just a few-weeks-old to pre-schoolers to encourage families to book a free developmental check.

Specialist nurses work with parents to achieve the best possible outcomes for each child.

“We work with mothers and fathers to achieve their parenting goals and support them in building a strong relationship with their baby or child,” Clayton said.

“Our aim is to improve the lives and experiences of parents and families in the first 2000 days of their child’s life and better support all children to achieve the best start in life.”

To book a health check, call 1800 222 608.

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