Dr Abigail Collins
HSE National Clinical Lead in Child Health Public Health
Approximately 60,000* babies are born in the State every year and, as children (under 18 years) account for approximately 25% of the Irish population (1.19m projected for 2022), Ireland has one of the youngest populations in the EU.
The HSE National Healthy Childhood Programme has a key role in supporting families as they progress from pregnancy, through to baby and early years.
Parent-led expert resources
The HSE’s NHCP provides a series of core infant and early childhood checks, complemented by its mychild.ie website and books developed by experts and informed by parents’ needs.
The books and website are developed and designed to be a one-stop-shop where parents and parents-to-be can get accurate and trusted information on pregnancy through the first five years of their child’s life. Information provided throughout the resources is based on research evidence, clinical best practice and the practice wisdom of over 80 subject matter experts.
Information provided throughout the resources is based on research evidence, clinical best practice and the practice wisdom of over 80 subject matter experts.
During the development of mychild.ie, over 4,000 parents took part in a research and listening exercise. These parents included those at different stages (first time pregnant, second child, mothers, fathers) and from a variety of locations across Ireland and different situations, including parents transitioning from homelessness, asylum seekers, teenage and young parents and parents from the Traveller community.
In response to parents’ feedback, the resources were designed to provide parents with the right health information and support them to make informed choices in relation to their children’s health and their own. Website traffic, to date in 2022, exceeds 4 million hits. Looking to the future, Dr Abigail Collins, National Clinical Lead in Child Health Public Health for the HSE explains: “One of the key objectives of mychild.ie is to increase the availability and accessibility of relevant trusted information for parents. Every child is unique and every family setting is different. While parents know their child best, we hope that research and practitioner experience can be invaluable sources of information when needed.”