Good quality sleep is important for everyone, and especially for children as it directly impacts on their mental and physical development.

During the deep states of sleep, blood supply to your child’s muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth.

Good sleep helps to improve physical and mental well-being, attention, behaviour, learning and memory.

 

 

In the drop down menus below you can find the age category of your child and all the related sleep advice and information.

It's recommended that babies up to 3 months get 14 to17 hours of sleep per day (24 hour period). This includes daytime naps.

Younger infants up to 6 months tend to sleep on and off around the clock, waking every 1 to 3 hours to eat. As they near 4 months of age, sleep rhythms become more set. Most babies sleep 9 to 12 hours at night, usually with an interruption for feeding, and have 2 to 3 daytime naps lasting about 30 minutes to 2 hours each.

Is it normal for babies to wake at night?
  • Yes. It is normal for babies to wake during the night. Some babies sleep much more than others. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Some sleep through the night, some don't for a long time. Your baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping and it's unlikely to be the same as other babies you know.
  • It may help to remember that all babies over 5 months of age wake 4 to 6 times during the night, as they come to the end of each sleep cycle. This is normal and also occurs with older children/adults. It's the falling back to sleep that can be difficult.

Do babies and young children automatically fall into a good sleeping pattern?

  • No. All babies and children need to be supported to develop a good sleep routine and good sleeping habits. It is a process that will take time and can’t be achieved in a few days. This can be a struggle, especially when you are sleep deprived and feel constantly tired yourself.
  • All babies are different and will start sleeping through at different times.

What routines and habits promote good sleep

  • Fortunately, there are many practical ways to develop and improve your child’s sleeping routine and habits. Tips for newborns are below.

Newborns (0 to 3 months)

  • Sleep during the early months occurs around the clock. The sleep-wake cycle is driven by the need to be fed, changed and given attention.
  • Newborns sleep a total of 14 to 17 hours across a 24 hour period, on an irregular schedule with periods of 1 to 3 hours spent awake. The sleep period may last a few minutes to several hours. During sleep, they are often active, twitching their arms and legs, smiling, sucking and generally appearing restless.
  • Newborns express their need to sleep in different ways. Some fuss, cry or rub their eyes.
  • It is best to put babies down to sleep when they are drowsy but not asleep. They are more likely to fall asleep quickly and eventually learn how to get themselves to sleep.

Newborns can be encouraged to sleep less during the day by exposing them to light and noise and by playing more with them in the daytime. As evening approaches, the environment should be quieter and lighting dimmer with less activity.

Sleep tips for newborns:

  • Observe newborn’s sleep patterns and identify signs of sleepiness.
  • Put newborn in a cot or Moses basket (even during the day) when they are drowsy and not asleep to encourage self-settling.
  • Encourage night time sleep. As evening approaches try to make the environment quieter and lighting dimmer with less activity.

All babies cry and it can be upsetting and frustrating. Not every baby is easy to calm but that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. For tips on infant crying and how to cope see ICON and/or talk to your health visitor.

Safer sleep tips:

  • Simple steps can be taken to ensure that your baby sleeps in a safe environment, which will reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), commonly known as cot death.
  • The safest place for babies to sleep is close to their parents’ bed, in their own clear safe sleep space, such as a cot or moses masket, in the same room for at least the first 6 months
  • Never co-sleep on a sofa/armchair. If you sit down with your baby and you are feeling tired put your baby in a clear safe sleep space e.g. a cot or Moses basket.
  • Never co-sleep if you or your partner have smoked or have used alcohol, medication or drugs
  • Put babies on their back for every sleep
  • Maintain a clear and flat sleep space
  • Keep your home smoke free day and night
  • Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

​​Daytime naps advice:

  • Daytime naps provide much needed downtime. This aids the important physical and mental development that happens in early childhood
  • They help keep babies and young children from becoming overtired which can affect their moods and make it harder for them to fall asleep at night.
  • They also give parents a break during the day.

There's no single rule about how much daytime sleep children need. Your baby is unique so try not to compare. It depends on their age, the child and the sleep total during a 24 hour period. For example, one baby may sleep 13 hours at night with only some daytime napping, while another gets 9 hours at night but takes a solid 2 hour nap each afternoon.

If your child is napping 'on the go' (for example in the car) try to ensure that this is balanced by daytime sleep in their own bed at home so that they get good quality daytime sleep over the course of a week.

Example of a 'sleep friendly' environment:

The safest place to sleep is in a cot or cot bed with all sides up.

Babies should sleep on a firm and flat mattress. The sleeping area should be clear of toys, cot bumpers and duvets both at home and when staying with family and friends.

The mattress should be at an age and development appropriate level. For need-to-know information about what kind of cot mattress is best see the Which? guide.

Place baby to sleep on their back for every sleep, with face and head clear of blankets and other soft items.

Babies need to be a comfortable temperature. Aim for a room temperature of 16 to 20°C. Use light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleeping bag. Please always read the label on a baby sleeping bag to ensure the tog and age rating are appropriate for your baby.

Ideally lights off, or at least dimmed. LEDs emit much more blue light than white bulbs and therefore have a greater impact on quality sleep, so ensure these are switched off.

There does not need to be silence. It can be helpful for your baby to get used to some noise, though noise needs to be at a level that it does not disrupt sleep. Be aware that a sudden loud noise such as slamming doors or the toilet flushing may wake your baby.

A smoke free home is safest for babies and children.

 

It's recommended that infants from 4 months to 1 year get 12 to 15 hours of sleep per day (24 hour period). This includes daytime naps.

Younger infants up to 6 months tend to sleep on and off around the clock, waking every 1 to 3 hours to eat. As they near 4 months of age, sleep rhythms become more set. Most babies sleep 9 to 12 hours at night, usually with an interruption for feeding, and have 2 to 3 daytime naps lasting about 30 minutes to 2 hours each.

Babies from 6 to 12 months usually have two naps a day. Naps may last 20 minutes for some babies and for others a few hours.

Is it normal for babies to wake at night?

  • Yes. It is normal for babies to wake during the night. Some babies sleep much more than others. Some sleep for long periods, others in short bursts. Some sleep through the night, some don't for a long time. Your baby will have their own pattern of waking and sleeping, and it's unlikely to be the same as other babies you know. Your baby is unique, so try not to compare.

It may help to remember that all babies over 5 months of age wake 4 to 6 times during the night as they come to the end of each sleep cycle. This is normal and also occurs with older children/adults. It's the falling back to sleep that can be difficult.

What routines and habits promote good sleep?

  • Fortunately, there are many practical ways to develop and improve your child’s sleeping routine and habits. Tips for infants 4 to 11 months are below.
  • Infants typically sleep 12 to 15 hours during the night and take 30 minute to 2 hour naps, 1 to 4 times a day – fewer as they reach age 1
  • After a calming bedtime routine, children benefit from being allowed to settle to sleep on their own while awake but drowsy. If children learn to settle independently they will be more likely to self soothe back to sleep after natural night wakenings

As your baby grows their sleep habits will change, though starting to establish a bedtime routine early on can help support these changes. Illness and increased motor development may disrupt sleep.

Sleep Tips

  • Try to develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules. Maintain consistent sleep and wake times
  • Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine
  • Establish a regular 'sleep friendly' environment (see advice below)
  • Encourage your baby to fall asleep independently i.e. while awake but drowsy
  • See the safer sleep tips on the sleep advice for newborns page

All babies cry and it can be upsetting and frustrating. Not every baby is easy to calm but that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. For tips on infant crying and how to cope see ICON and/or talk to your health visitor.

Daytime naps advice:

  • Daytime naps provide much needed downtime that aids the important physical and mental development that happens in early childhood
  • They help keep babies and young children from becoming overtired which can affect their moods and make it harder for them to fall asleep at night
  • They also give parents a break during the day.

Example of a good bedtime routine:

It is important to develop regular daytime and bedtime routines that work for you and your children. Active children are sleepy children.
Every baby and child is different and you can adapt the following bedtime routine to meet your baby’s needs. Babies may require a shorter bedtime routine compared to older children. You may wish to offer your baby a feed as part of the routine.
Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine that works for you. Avoid watching TV/screens at least 1 hour before bedtime. Establish a regular sleep friendly environment (see below). Start the 'journey to bed' 1 hour before bedtime using signals such as end of a favourite game.


• 6.00pm: Bath time, bathing and brushing teeth
• 6.15pm: Change into bedtime clothes
• 6.30pm: Story time. If they are not interested in stories to begin with you could try gentle songs/nursery rhymes. Story time can be extended as a child gets older.
• 6.45pm: Settle into bed, cuddle time, and goodnight. Some parents find it helpful to sing the same nursery rhyme/song every night as a signal that it’s time to go to sleep.

Avoid return to daytime activities e.g. not returning downstairs after their bath.

These timings are given as an example. Adjust the schedule to suit your family and your baby.

Example of a 'sleep friendly' environment:

The safest place to sleep is in a cot or cot bed with all sides up.

Babies should sleep on a firm and flat mattress. The sleeping area should be clear of toys, cot bumpers and duvets both at home and when staying with family and friends.

The mattress should be at an age and development appropriate level. For need-to-know information about what kind of cot mattress is best see the Which? guide.

Place baby to sleep on their back for every sleep, with face and head clear of blankets and other soft items.

Babies need to be a comfortable temperature. Aim for a room temperature of 16 to 20°C. Use with light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleeping bag. Please always read the label on a baby sleeping bag to ensure the tog and age rating are appropriate for your baby.

Ideally lights off, or at least dimmed. LEDs emit much more blue light than white bulbs and therefore have a greater impact on quality sleep, so ensure these are switched off.

There does not need to be silence. It can be helpful for your baby to get used to some noise, though noise needs to be at a level that it does not disrupt sleep. Be aware that a sudden loud noise such as slamming doors or the toilet flushing may wake your baby.

A smoke free home is safest for babies and children.

I’ve tried all of the above and my baby is still waking frequently!

  • Some babies take longer than others to respond to a routine and settle into good sleep habits. Almost all adults find interrupted sleep makes them feel tired and irritable, and relationships can suffer. Look after yourself, and try discussing with your partner how you might manage night time waking. For further advice see the useful resources section at the bottom of the page

It's recommended that toddlers aged 1 to 2 years get 11 to 14 hours of sleep per day (24 hour period). This includes daytime naps.

Young toddlers might still be taking 2 naps. Over time this will reduce to 1 nap of 1 to 3 hours. Naps should not be too close to bedtime as they may make it harder for toddlers to fall asleep at night.

What routines and habits promote good sleep?

Fortunately, there are many practical ways to develop and improve your child’s sleeping routine and habits. Tips for toddlers are below..

Many toddlers experience sleep problems including resisting going to bed and night-time awakenings. Night-time fears and nightmares are also common.

Many factors can lead to sleep problems. Toddlers' drive for independence and an increase in their motor, cognitive and social abilities can interfere with sleep. In addition, their ability to get out of bed, separation anxiety, the need for autonomy and the development of the child's imagination can lead to sleep problems. Daytime sleepiness and behaviour problems may signal poor sleep or a sleep problem.

Sleep Tips for Toddlers:

  • Maintain a daily sleep schedule. Have a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine
  • Maintain a regular 'sleep friendly' environment. Teach your toddler to settle in the same environment that they will later wake up in during the night i.e. their bedroom
  • Encourage your toddler to fall asleep independently i.e. while awake but drowsy
  • Set limits that are consistent, communicated and enforced. If parents do not set limits children will invariably choose a later bedtime

 Daytime naps advice: 

  • Daytime naps provide much needed downtime that aids the important physical and mental development that happens in early childhood
  • They help keep babies and young children from becoming overtired, which can affect their moods and make it harder for them to fall asleep at night.
  • They also give parents a break during the day.

 

Example of a good bedtime routine: 

It is important to develop regular daytime and bedtime routines that work for you and your children. Active children are sleepy children.
Every baby and child is different and you can adapt the following bedtime routine to meet your toddlers’ needs. Babies may require a shorter bedtime routine compared to older children.
Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine that works for you. Avoid watching TV/screens at least an hour before bedtime. Establish a regular sleep friendly environment (see below). Start the 'journey to bed' an hour before bedtime using signals such as end of a favourite game.


• 6.00pm: Bath time, bathing and brushing teeth
• 6.15pm: Change into bedtime clothes
• 6.30pm: Story time. If they are not interested in stories to begin with you could try gentle songs/nursery rhymes. Story time can be extended as a child gets older. Your child may want to read the same story every night, let them choose.
• 6.45pm: Settle into bed, cuddle time, and goodnight. Some parents find it helpful to sing the same nursery rhyme/song every night as a signal that it’s time to go to sleep.


Avoid return to daytime activities e.g. not returning downstairs after their bath.
Security objects (such as blanket or soft toy) are helpful to many young children as part of positive sleep association, but only recommended over the age of one.

These timings are given as an example. Adjust the schedule to suit your family and your child.

My toddler is tired, so why won’t they sleep?

If a toddler is happy, comfortable and tired then problems falling asleep are likely to be behavioural (such as bedtime resistance) or environmental (such as noise).

I’ve tried all of the above and my toddler is still waking frequently!

Some children take longer than others to respond to a routine and settle into good sleep habits. Almost all adults find interrupted sleep makes them feel tired and irritable, and relationships can suffer. Look after yourself, try discussing with your partner how you might manage night time waking. For further advice see the useful resources section.

Good example of a 'sleep friendly' environment: 

A room temperature of 16 to 20°C.

A 'screen free' (including mobile phones, tablets and computers) bedroom as both the light they emit and the content of screen based activities stimulate the brain to keep awake.

Lights off. LEDs emit much more blue light than white bulbs and therefore have a greater impact on quality sleep, so ensure these are switched off. If some light is needed for comfort use a night-light with a red/orange light.

There does not need to be silence, and it can be helpful for your children to get used to some noise, though noise needs to be at a level that it does not disrupt sleep. Be aware that a sudden loud noise such as slamming doors or the toilet flushing may wake your toddler.

A smoke free home is safest for children.

It's recommended that pre-schoolers aged 3 to 5 years get 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day (24 hour period). This includes any daytime naps.

Some pre-schools require an afternoon nap, though you should be working towards your child dropping a regular afternoon nap before they start school.

Sleep and Pre-schoolers (3-5 years)

Pre-schoolers typically sleep 10 to 13 hours each night and most do not nap after 5 years of age. As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night are common. With further development of imagination, pre-schoolers commonly experience night-time fears and nightmares. In addition, sleepwalking and sleep terrors peak during pre-school years.

Sleep Tips for Pre-schoolers:

  • Maintain a consistent and enjoyable sleep schedule and bedtime routine. Maintain a regular 'sleep friendly' environment, with the child settling in the same environment that they will later wake up in during the night i.e. their bedroom. This should be without any screens at least 1 hour before bedtime, so no TV, mobile phones, tablets or computers
  • Set limits that are consistent, communicated and enforced. If parents do not set limits children will invariably choose a later bedtime. You could try giving your child 1 or 2 bedtime 'passes' that can be exchanged for a parent response. If they are not used they can exchange them for a small reward such as a sticker in the morning 
Positive reinforcement: If appropriate behaviour is rewarded it is likely to be repeated. Parents should provide encouragement and positive praise for small achievable steps. Some parents find it helpful to use star charts for pre-school and primary school-aged children. Rewards should never be withdrawn.

 Daytime naps advice: 

  • Daytime naps provide much needed downtime that aids the important physical and mental development that happens in early childhood
  • They help keep children from becoming overtired, which can affect their moods and make it harder for them to fall asleep at night.
  • They also give parents a break during the day.

 

Example of a good bedtime routine:

It is important to develop regular daytime and bedtime routines that work for you and your children. Active children are sleepy children.
Every child is different and you can adapt the following bedtime routine to meet your child’s needs. Babies may require a shorter bedtime routine compared to older children.
Create a consistent and enjoyable bedtime routine that works for you. Avoid watching TV/screens at least 1 hour before bedtime. Establish a regular sleep friendly environment (see below). Start the 'journey to bed' 1 hour before bedtime using signals such as end of a favourite game.


• 6.30pm: Bath time – bathing and brushing teeth
• 6.45pm: Change into bedtime clothes
• 7.00pm: Story time. If they are not interested in stories to begin with you could try gentle songs/nursery rhymes. Story time can be extended as a child gets older. Your child may want to read the same story, let them choose.
• 7.15pm: Settle into bed, cuddle time, and goodnight. Some parents find it helpful to sing the same nursery rhyme/song every night as a signal that it’s time to go to sleep.

Avoid returning to daytime activities e.g. don't go back downstairs after their bath.
Security objects (such as blanket or soft toy) are helpful to many young children as part of positive sleep association.

These timings are given as an example. Adjust the schedule to suit your family and your child.

My child is tired, so why won’t they sleep?

If a child is happy, comfortable, and tired, problems falling asleep are likely to be behavioural (such as bedtime resistance) or environmental (such as noise).

I’ve tried all of the above and my child is still waking frequently!

Some children take longer than others to respond to a routine and settle into good sleep habits. Almost all adults find interrupted sleep makes them feel tired and irritable, and relationships can suffer. Look after yourself, try discussing with your partner how you might manage night time waking. For further advice see the useful resources section below.

Good example of a 'sleep friendly' environment:

A room temperature of 16 to 20°C.

A 'screen free' (including mobile phones, tablets and computers) bedroom as both the light they emit and the content of screen based activities stimulate the brain to keep awake.

Lights off. LEDs emit much more blue light than white bulbs and therefore have a greater impact on quality sleep, so ensure these are switched off. If some light is needed for comfort use a night-light with a red/orange light.

There does not need to be silence. It can be helpful for your children to get used to some noise, though noise needs to be at a level that it does not disrupt sleep. Be aware that a sudden loud noise such as slamming doors or the toilet flushing may wake your child.

A smoke free home is safest for children.

It's recommended that on average, children aged 3 to 5 years old get 11 hours sleep a night. Children aged 6 to 13 years old should get 9 to 11 hours sleep.

However, some children might have less need for sleep and be able to get away with less. Others may need more. Sleep needs vary between children, just like height, so we can’t expect all children to have the same needs. Your child is unique, so try not to compare.

What routines and habits promote good sleep?

Fortunately, there are many practical ways to develop and improve your child’s sleeping routine and habits.

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Waking up and going to sleep at the same times or within an hour of normal times even at weekends, allowing for some flexibility.
  • Try to maintain sleep routines in the school holidays and when away from home. Maintain an enjoyable bedtime routine. Promote story time for as long as your child will allow.
  • Maintain a regular 'sleep friendly' environment, with the child settling in the same environment that they will later wake up in during the night i.e. their bedroom. The environment should be quiet, dark, and smoke-free.
  • LED lights emit much more blue light than white bulbs and therefore have a greater impact on quality sleep, so ensure these are switched off. The blue light from the screens and the content of what children may be watching, may impact on their ability to all asleep
  • Avoid screen use (including TV, mobile phones, tablets and computers) at least 1 hour before bed. Have a no screens in bedroom agreement
  • Avoid caffeinated or high sugar products e.g. fizzy drinks, sweets and tea
  • If your child is genuinely hungry rather than trying to delay bedtime, offer a healthy snack, ideally before bath and brushing teeth time
  • Encourage your child to get as much natural light as possible in the day, especially in the morning
  • Set limits that are consistent, communicated and enforced. If parents do not set limits children will invariably choose a later bedtime

How do I encourage my child to stick to a sleep routine and good sleep habits?

Ideally, you want to reach a point as your child gets older where they take responsibility for their own sleep routine and habits. If they can be encouraged to do this before they reach secondary school it will help to inform a good sleep routine and habits as a teenager. Key to encouraging children to take some responsibility for their sleep – rather than something that they need to do battle with parents over - is explaining to them why sleep is important for their health and wellbeing.

Is there a link between screen use and poor sleep?

Research shows that use of screens before going to bed is not good for the sleep quality for people of any age. Using screens sends a signal to your brain that you should still be awake. For example, using social media can cause anxiety or an increased state of awareness at a time when you want your child’s brain to be in calm mode.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health recommend that children avoid looking at screens such as phones, tablets or computers in the hour before bed to reduce disruption to their sleep. They've developed guidelines for clinicians and parents on the health impacts of screen time. View it by clicking here.

Good example of a bedtime routine for a primary-school aged child:

Start the 'journey to bed' an hour before bedtime using signals such as end of a favourite game or TV programme. Have a 'screen curfew' in the hour before bed.

  • A typical good routine involves a bath or shower then quiet time in bedroom before settling into bed and lights out.
  • Encourage story time for as long as the child will allow as this is great bonding time for children and parents.
  • Avoid returning to daytime activities e.g. don't go back downstairs after bath or shower.
  • Use of a bedtime pass can limit delay tactics: one or two passes can be exchanged for reasonable requests after lights out (such as a trip to the toilet or another kiss goodnight)
  • Transitional objects (soft toys) are helpful to many young children as part of a positive sleep association.
  • Anxious children can write down worries in a diary or post them in a 'worry box' before the bedtime routine starts.

Good example of a 'sleep friendly' environment:

A room temperature of 16 to 20°C.

A 'screen free' (including mobile phones, tablets and computers) bedroom as both the light they emit and the content of screen based activities stimulate the brain to keep awake.

Lights off. LEDs emit much more blue light than white bulbs and therefore have a greater impact on quality sleep, so ensure these are switched off. If some light is needed for comfort use a night-light with a red/orange light.

There does not need to be silence. It can be helpful for your children to get used to some noise, though noise needs to be at a level that it does not disrupt sleep. Be aware that a sudden loud noise such as slamming doors or the toilet flushing may wake your child.

A smoke free home is safest for children.

 
Useful links and resources

Having a baby or child who doesn’t sleep well can be difficult. Below are some tips on coping and some resources that have further information and advice that might help you.

Helping parents to cope

Encouraging and maintaining good sleep routines and habits for children can be tough for parents who are themselves tired at the end of the day. Things may get worse before they get better, as with any change.

  • Planning and mutual support is important. Agree a strategy that all parents and caregivers can work with.​​​​​​​
  • Contact your health visitor who can give you advice on sleep that is specific to the needs of your baby.

Resources for parents with babies and young children

NHS: Sleep tips for parents of young children

Lullaby Trust: Advice on safe sleep for babies and infants

Paediatric Sleep Council, Baby Sleep: Developed for parents by sleep academics, with advice on a wide range of sleep problems for 0-3 year olds

The Sleep Charity: Offers advice to anyone whose child is not sleeping well. You can visit the website or call them Sunday - Thursday 7-9pm on 03303 530 541

Contact a Family: Provides information, particularly for children with disabilities.

ICON: Infant crying and how to cope

Bath, Book, Bed routine from the Book Trust: Advice on how to establish a bath, book and bed routine

BASIS - Baby Sleep Information Source

Resources for parents with children (including teenagers)

NHS: Sleep tips for teenagers

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health: The health impacts of screen time: a guide for clinicians and parents

Royal College of Psychiatrists: Sleep problems in childhood and adolescence: for parents, carers and anyone who works with young people.

ERIC: How to stop or manage bedwetting

Teen Sleep Hub: Advice, tips and informaton on how to sleep better for teenagers.

Midwives provide advice, care and support for women and their babies during pregnancy, labour and the early postnatal period. They provide health education and parenting advice until care is transferred to a health visitor. This usually happens when your baby is about 2 weeks old.

Sound Advice

 

A midwife is an expert in normal pregnancy and birth.

You can treat your child's very minor illnesses and injuries at home.

Some illnesses can be treated in your own home with support and advice from the services listed when required, using the recommended medicines and getting plenty of rest.

Sound advice

Children can recover from illness quickly but also can become more poorly quickly; it is important to seek further advice if a child's condition gets worse.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

All community pharmacies across England are required to be Healthy Living Pharmacies. This means that they are able to offer advice about a range of healthy living matters which includes eating a healthy diet. They can provide information leaflets and give parents/carers and young people more information about other organisations that might be able to also help them with healthy eating.

Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.

Sound advice

  1. Visit a pharmacy if your child is ill, but does not need to see a GP.
  2. Remember that if your child's condition gets worse, you should seek further medical advice immediately.
  3. Help your child to understand - watch this video with them about going to the pharmacy.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

Health visitors are nurses or midwives who are passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing illness through the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme. They work with you through your pregnancy up until your child is ready to start school.

Health Visitors can also make referrals for you to other health professionals for example hearing or vision concerns, or to the Community Paediatricians, or the child and adolescent mental health services.

 

Contact your local Health Visiting Team:

Bradford Health Visitors or call - 01274 221223

Wakefield Health Visitors or call - 01924 310130

Craven Health Visitors or call - 01423 544265

Leeds Health Visitors or call - 0113 843 5683

Calderdale Health Visitors or call - 030 0304 5555 (local rate number)

Kirklees Health Visitors or call - 030 0304 5555 (local rate number)

Sound advice

Health visitors also provide advice, support and guidance in caring for your child, including:

  • Breastfeeding, weaning and healthy eating
  • Exercise, hygiene and safety
  • Your child’s growth and development
  • Emotional health and wellbeing, including postnatal depression
  • Safety in the home
  • Stopping smoking
  • Contraception and sexual health
  • Sleep and behaviour management (including temper tantrums!)
  • Toilet training
  • Minor illnesses

For more information about what Health Visitors do: What does a health visitor do?

School nurses care for children and young people, aged 5-19, and their families, to ensure their health needs are supported within their school and community. They work closely with education staff and other agencies to support parents, carers and the children and young people, with physical and/or emotional health needs.

 

Contacting the School Nurse

Primary and secondary schools have an allocated school nurse – telephone your child’s school to ask for the contact details of your named school nurse.

There is also a specialist nurse who works with families who choose to educate their children at home.

Contact your local school nursing team:

Bradford School Nurses01274 221203

Wakefield School Nurses01924 310130

Leeds School Nurses - 0113 843 5683

Calderdale School Nurses030 3330 9974 (local rate number)

Kirklees School Nurses0300 304 5555 (local rate number)

Sound Advice

Before your child starts school your health visitor will meet with the school nursing team to transfer their care to the school nursing service. The school nursing team consists of a school nursing lead, specialist public health practitioners and school health staff nurses.

They all have a role in preventing disease and promoting health and wellbeing, by:-

  • encouraging healthier lifestyles
  • offering immunisations
  • giving information, advice and support to children, young people and their families
  • supporting children with complex health needs

Each member of the team has links with many other professionals who also work with children including community paediatricians, child and adolescent mental health teams, health visitors and speech and language therapists. The school health nursing service also forms part of the multi-agency services for children, young people and families where there are child protection or safeguarding issues.

GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a hospital specialist should you need it.

All children should be registered with a GP. Anyone in England can register for free with a GP surgery. You do not need proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

How to find your local GP.

Sound advice

You have a choice of service:

  1. Doctors/GPs can treat many illnesses that do not warrant a visit to A&E.
  2. Help your child to understand – watch this video with them about visiting the GP or going to a walk in centre

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, call 111. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your area.

Please note, the online version of NHS 111 is only recommended for children over the age of five. If your child is under five years old, please phone 111.

NHS 111 can also direct you to your nearest urgent treatment centre (minor injuries unit or walk-in centre).

Find your local urgent treatment centre.

When to visit an urgent treatment centre.

Sound advice

Use NHS 111 if you are unsure what to do next, have any questions about a condition or treatment or require information about local health services.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • major trauma such as road traffic collisions

If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.

Sound advice

  1. Many visits to A&E and calls to 999 could be resolved by any other NHS services.
  2. If your child's condition is not critical, choose another service to get them the best possible treatment.
  3. Help your child to understand – watch this video with them about going to A&E or riding in an ambulance

This guidance has been reviewed and adapted by healthcare professionals across West Yorkshire with consent from the Hampshire development groups.