Child health services
Early childhood health clinics
Early childhood health clinics operated by NSW Health, provide a free service for all new parents in NSW. They are staffed by trained health professionals and registered nurses who specialise in child and family health.
You can get help and information on:
- coping with sleeping and crying problems
- baby’s growth and development
Parents of babies in NSW are eligible for a home visit from a trained Child & Family Health Nurse within two weeks of giving birth.
The offer of a home visit is made to every family with a new baby in NSW. This scheme aims to provide health services in the most convenient location for new parents in addition to engaging families with the network of services available to support them.
The home visiting nurse will:
- give the baby a health and development check including measuring weight, height and head circumference
- talk to the mother about how she is coping (e.g. with feeding, settling and sleeping)
- discuss any issues the parents may have
- assist with parenting difficulties (e.g. postnatal depression)
- provide further information and links to any additional family and parenting support required.
Some families may need ongoing visits, or referral to other services, and these needs can be discussed with the nurse at the first home visit.
To find out more about health home visits, view the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service – Early Childhood Health Services website.
Shortly before or after your baby is born, you’ll be given a personal health record book by NSW Health called My First Health Record. This has a blue cover and is often called ‘the blue book’. The book provides an easy way of keeping track of your child’s growth and development.
It makes sure that, wherever you are and whatever happens to your child, you’ll have a record of their health and progress, which can be shared with health professionals.
Take this book with you when you visit a health service, doctor, dentist or hospital to record your child’s weight and other measurements, vaccinations and other important health information.
This book is free for children born overseas and can be obtained from the Better Health Centre on 9887 5450 or via email.
StEPS: Statewide eyesight preschooler screening
The StEPS program is an initiative of NSW Health and offers all 4-year old children free vision screening.
NSW Health advises all children to have their vision screened before they start school and strongly recommends that all 4-year old children participate in the vision screening program.
Why would my child need their vision screened?
- Children rarely complain of eye problems
- Children may not realise they can’t see well
- Some children can see well with one eye but have very poor vision in the other eye Children’s eyes may look OK and parents/carers might think that their child can see well but some children might still have a vision problem
- The only way to tell if a child has a vision problem is to have the child’s vision tested one eye at a time.
How can my child access the StEPS program?
Your local Area Health Service will target preschools and child care centres to offer all four-year old children a free vision screening. To have your child’s vision screened you will need to complete a consent form and return it to your child’s preschool/child care centre.
You can also have your four-year old child’s vision screened for free through your local Child & Family Health Service.
SWISH: Statewide Infant Screening – Hearing Program
The NSW Statewide Infant Screening – Hearing (SWISH) Program aims to identify all babies born in NSW with significant permanent bilateral hearing loss by three months of age, and for those children to be able to access appropriate intervention by six months of age.
Why does my baby need a hearing check?
Identification of significant hearing loss is achieved through universal hearing screening of all newborns.
About one to two in every 1,000 babies has significant hearing loss. The SWISH program aims to identify babies born with significant hearing loss and introduce them to appropriate services as soon as possible after birth.
Parent/carer brochures describing the SWISH program are available in English and 16 other community languages, in both paper form and on the NSW Health website.