Yesterday, the Scottish Government launched their Infant Best Practice Guidelines which includes a national ‘Infant pledge’.

Hilda Beauchamp, iHV Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Lead, welcomed this important policy commitment to infants stating:

The iHV is delighted to support the launch of the Scottish Government’s Voice of the Infant best practice guidelines and infant pledge. Co-produced as part of the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme board, the new Scottish Model of Infant Participation places babies and very young children ‘front and centre’ to ensure that they are always in focus and their views are shared and acted on.

“The Model is depicted in the colours of the Scottish landscape, representing heather, forest, hills and sea but, more importantly, drawing the attention to four key domains for all who care for and work with infants. These are Space and Voice, relating to the infant’s right to express their views, Audience and Influence, relating to their right to have their views given due weight.

“These important documents add weight to the already very enabling policy context for infants in Scotland, building on the Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) approach, the UNCRC (Incorporation)(Scotland) Bill, The Promise, Child Poverty Delivery Plans and Covid Recovery Strategy, and will contribute to the national ambition for every baby, child and young person to be loved, safe, respected and realise their full potential.”

There has been a well-documented and persistent ‘Baby Blindspot’ in national policy. This pledge represents an important step in fully recognising the needs of our youngest citizens in Scotland. We join with others in calling for similar initiatives in all UK nations.

The Pledge is written in simple language and from the baby’s perspective. It is available as a one page sheet that can be printed and put up as a poster in places welcoming babies.

Infant Pledge

I am one of Scotland’s youngest citizens. To give me the best start, so that I can thrive throughout my life, I need to be seen as a person with my own feelings and rights. I depend on adults to interpret my cues and communications so that my rights are upheld, and my voice is heard.

My relationships with the people who care for me are important and directly affect how my brain grows and develops, and how I learn to process and regulate my feelings. Safe and secure relationships and consistent care support my wellbeing now and give me better chances and outcomes in later life too.

Professionals and academics in the field of Infant Mental Health alongside organisations championing the rights and welfare of babies and very young children have come together on my behalf to create the following expectations, which they believe would help improve my life chances.

I expect that I will:

  1. Be seen as a person with my own feelings and views.
  2. Be seen as able to communicate my feelings and views.
  3. Be able to trust my important adults to think carefully about my feelings and views and speak them for me.
  4. Be supported to have secure relationships with the adults who care for me.
  5. Have safe, interesting places to play and learn, and the help I need to do so.
  6. Have my views valued by my family, community, and society.
  7. Have a say in decisions about what happens to me.

My important adults will:

  1. Have support to be healthy, including before I am born.
  2. Have the information they need to make good choices for me.
  3. Have the support they need to understand and meet my needs and their own.
  4. Have help from people with the right knowledge and skills.

It is everyone’s responsibility to:

  1. Consider me and my perspective at all levels of decision making.

Healthcare professionals, parents and young people are being urged to familiarise themselves with the signs of childhood stroke to help prevent potentially devastating effects, as a new clinical guideline from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Stroke Association launches today.

Stroke in Childhood 2017 is a nationally developed evidence-based clinical guideline for all UK paediatricians and healthcare professionals involved in the regulation or practice of the care of children and young people who have had or are suspected of having a stroke.

Around 400 children in the UK have a stroke every year, leaving many with severe physical and mental impairments.  Experts say that with better knowledge of the signs of childhood stroke amongst doctors and parents, and with clear guidelines in place for effective rehabilitation, children should receive diagnosis and appropriate treatment more quickly, minimising the risk of severe long-term health problems.

The extensive guidelines are the first to be truly multidisciplinary – and should be a useful tool for a range of professionals including therapists, psychologists, ambulance staff as well as those working in education.

The guidelines include signs for spotting strokes in children:

  • Most children experiencing a stroke will have similar difficulties to those observed in adults suffering from strokes, specifically weakness of the face, one side of the body and difficulty with speech. These signs have been highlighted as part of the ‘FAST’ campaign for recognising stroke in adults but apply at all ages.
  • Less commonly, childhood strokes may present with seizures or fits affecting one part of the body or, rarely, a new onset sudden severe headache.
  • Many children affected by stroke will have non-specific signs of illness, such as a decrease in conscious level or vomiting.

The clinical guideline also includes details of what tests should be performed, how to diagnose and treat stroke and prevent recurrences. The entire rehabilitation pathway, from the initial period in hospital, through to going back home and to school and important periods of childhood transition, are covered in the guidelines.

The parent/carer guideline is a lay version of the guideline which provides information to parents, carers, and families of children and young people affected by stroke. The information is based on detailed clinical guidelines produced for healthcare professionals who are involved in the care of children and young people affected by stroke.


Public Health England (PHE) has published the technical guidelines setting out the approaches the food industry can take to reduce the amount of sugar children consume through the everyday foods that contribute the most to intakes.

The guidelines include the recommended sugar limits for 9 food groups including biscuits, breakfast cereals and yogurt. Also published is the 2015 baseline.

The 9 food categories in the programme are:
  • breakfast cereals
  • yogurts
  • biscuits
  • cakes
  • morning goods like croissants
  • puddings
  • ice creams, lollies and sorbets
  • confectionery (chocolate and sweet)
  • sweet spreads, which is sub-categorised into:
    • chocolate spread
    • peanut butter
    • dessert toppings and sauces
    • fruit spreads

Sub-categories have been introduced due to the wide range of different products included in the sweet spreads category.

Encouraging the industry to innovate to lower children’s sugar intakes means the programme will be good for health and good for business.

One of the main commitments in the Government’s Childhood obesity: a plan for action was to reduce the amount of sugar contained in food. The challenge is to reduce sugar by 5% by August 2017 and overall by 20% by 2020.

The 3 approaches the food industry can take to reduce sugar are:
  • reformulating products to lower the levels of sugar present
  • reducing the portion size, and/or the number of calories in single-serve products
  • shifting consumer purchasing towards lower or no added sugar products

PHE will judge the success of the sugar reduction programme by measuring the net amount of sugar removed from key food categories. The principles are to encourage the industry to go further and faster in sugar reduction in order to improve health outcomes, but also to give it flexibility in how it meets the Government’s challenge.

This guidance (Core elements for communicating to the public), produced in conjunction with the alcohol industry, aims to raise awareness and help people understand the risks that alcohol consumption may pose to their health. In response to the new CMO guidance, the alcohol industry is updating the health information on packaging and labels to reflect the latest evidence.

This multi-agency guidance on female genital mutilation (FGM) should be read and followed by all persons and bodies in England and Wales who are under statutory duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. It replaces female genital mutilation: guidelines to protect children and women (2014).

This guidance should be considered together with other relevant safeguarding guidance, including (but not limited to):

It is not intended to replace wider safeguarding guidance, but to provide additional advice on FGM.

This guidance has three key functions:

  • to provide information on FGM, including on the law on FGM in England and Wales;
  • to provide strategic guidance on FGM for chief executives, directors and senior managers of persons and bodies mentioned above, or of third parties exercising public protection functions on behalf of those persons or bodies;
  • to provide advice and support to front-line professionals who have responsibilities to safeguard and support women and girls affected by FGM, in particular to assist them in:
    • identifying when a girl or young woman may be at risk of FGM and responding appropriately;
    • identifying when a girl or woman has had FGM and responding appropriately; and
    • implementing measures that can prevent and ultimately help end the practice of FGM.

This guidance encourages agencies to cooperate and work together to protect and support those at risk of, or who have undergone, FGM.



A new infographic regarding the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) physical activity guidelines for children and young people aged 5-18 has been created.

CYPIn 2011, the joint UK CMOs’ physical activity guidelines advice for children and young people aged 5-18 is to engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity each week and to reduce sedentary behaviour.  Yet, we know that most children are not achieving the recommended amount of physical activity. The Health Survey England 2012 reported only 21% of boys and 16% of girls achieve the recommended 60 minutes a day. The proportion of girls meeting the guidelines decreases from 23% in those aged five to seven years, and to only 8% when aged 13-15 years.

All who have a role in supporting the health and wellbeing of children should know how much exercise they should be doing. This infographic is a great resource that can help everyone support the physical activity needs of children and young people.




We are pleased to announce that NICE’s Public Health Programme Guidance on Domestic violence and abuse – how services can respond effectively (PH50) has been published today, 26th February 2014.