Starting solids session now online
A new online Starting Solids session is now available. The video is for parents of babies 3-6 months who have not yet started solids. It lasts just under half an hour and follows the same format as the group Starting Solids sessions covering when, what and how to start baby on solid foods. Available on the Starting Solids page.
Healthy Start Scheme
There is no longer a requirement for a health professional’s signature as on Healthy Start Applications
This legislation was passed in preparation for the new digital application form. The digital form is not yet ready so parents still need to complete the paper applications but do not need a health professional to check or sign it.
The digitalisation of the Healthy Start scheme is due to launch in October 2020 and will have many added benefits including an online application form, a prepaid card that can be accepted at any retailer that accepts card and no requirement to reapply for the scheme after the birth of baby. There is a recorded webinar available for more information at www.sustainweb.org/foodpower/action/healthy_start/
It is likely that during Covid 19 the eligibility for Healthy Start will increase and the uptake drop so please remember to promote the scheme to all eligible families. There are currently over 900 families in Luton missing out on the scheme. More information on https://www.flyingstartluton.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Healthy-Start-Scheme-and-Covid-19.pdf
Healthy Start Vitamins
We are currently unable to provide Healthy Start vitamins to families. Mothers vitamins are still available through midwifery. In the meantime, we have developed a guide for parents on alternative vitamins and price ranges for infants and women. Healthy Start Vitamins are available at Superdrug for £3.99. Vitamin D is the main concern as the other nutrients can be obtained from the diet, the main source of vitamin D is sunshine and with families being advised to stay at home we recognise the increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. Please highlight the importance of Vitamin D supplementation to families using the guide on our website. There is also new information on eating well during pregnancy and obtaining vitamins during pregnancy. Please visit the Healthy Start page on our website for the information.
The Talking Takes Off team have been working hard to ensure that the key messages and support of the programme is still available to both practitioners and parents by creating a virtual offer whilst we are in lockdown.
We are excited to let you know that we have been able to set up live training webinars using Zoom in order that you can still access our training offer and take part in interactive sessions to support your learning. We do recognise that some of you are working different hours or juggling work with your own childcare, so the sessions will also be recorded and available to be viewed in your own time if you cannot access the live sessions. All you need is a device with access to the internet – a phone, tablet or laptop/computer will be fine. A ‘How To’ guide will be provided when you book.
Our training offer for this term focuses on the full course of using the Early Years Communication and Language Toolkit, after we introduced the document to you in the universal training. We are also excited to introduce you to some brand new training, Lift Off to Language, a small group programme for practitioners to run in Early Years Settings and Talk For All, a targeted course to further explore speech, language and communication needs which will be run as virtual workshops.
The toolkit training sessions are now live and we will be introducing the other training in the coming weeks. For details and bookings please contact Flying Start.
To ensure that support is still available for parents, we are running the Talking Takes Off Drop in with a Speech and Language Therapist sessions virtually too, offered either by phone or video conferencing. This support is part of our targeted offer on the local pathway of support to offer early intervention advice for families.
Support can be given for any child in the early years that would benefit from this level of early advice. Please note, children who require specialist support should still be referred to the main Speech and Language Therapy service. Furthermore, this offer is not available to children already known to the main Speech and Language Therapy service.
To book an appointment, families can email email@example.com. If families are unable to email, or if you as the practitioner would like to discuss the family or give further information, please do email on their behalf with consent to share the family’s details.
Safe at Home is offering families in Luton a range of telephone advice options to help provide ways to keep kids of all ages safe during the coronavirus pandemic. We want to keep families injury free and out of the emergency department in an already overly burdened NHS system. Our aim is to teach parents some simple ways to be ONE STEP AHEAD, recognise what is a hazard in their home and make easy adaptations to the home environment to help protect their child from common accidents.
Option 1 – Child Accident Prevention Helpline:
Elaine is on hand offering a telephone hotline for parents/carers with children of all ages during the following times: Mondays – Fridays between 12:00 – 16:00. This provides parents with the opportunity to have an informal chat with our child safety expert about how to keep their family safe and injury free whilst at home. Our focus will be on raising awareness of burns/ scalds/ poisoning/ falls/ choking and garden safety and also happy to answer any child safety related questions or simply talk through some tips around preventing child accidents.
☎ Call or text us on 0755 3348485
💻 Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Option 2 – Home Safety Telephone Assessment:
Home visits are currently suspended until further notice, however we are providing a telephone home safety assessment carried out by our Safety Advisor Kenny from the Fire Service or Elaine from Safe at Home. The safety advisor will talk through a room-by-room safety questionnaire with the parent covering each area of the home. Depending on the results of the survey, the advisor will provide the relevant safety advice to help reduce the risk of accidental injury to under 5’s. A copy of the completed questionnaire will be emailed to the parent following the call, enabling parent to make the recommended changes within the home environment.
This option is suitable for households who live in Luton with a child aged 0-5 or those who are expecting a baby in the near future. If the household is low income and claiming certain benefits they may qualify for free child safety equipment – installation of equipment can be arranged once home visits are permitted.
💻 Apply online by completing the parent application form on our website: https://www.safeathomecip.org.uk/apply-online/
Option 3 – Keeping Baby Safe Telephone Consultations:
For families living in Luton who are expecting a baby in 2020 we are offering a 1-1 telephone consultation with our child safety expert Elaine, to share and talk through vital information with parents-to-be. Expectant parents can gain awareness of the Tubes of Life programme and importance of choosing safe and compliant nursery products and how our simple key messages can help promote healthy brain development, protect baby and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other injuries. The consultation offers an ideal opportunity for parents to ask questions and discuss any nursery product queries prior to purchasing goods, plus each family will receive a free complimentary gift bag.
☎ Call or text us on 0755 3348485 to book an appointment
💻 Email us at email@example.com
Sharing Child Safety Top Tips:
Safe at Home is delivering a range of safety messages in English, Polish, Urdu and Bengali on social media covering the topics detailed below
Please be sure to share, like and follow us:
1 – Hot things can burn me
Hot Drinks – can scald a child up to 15-20 mins after being made as their skin is 15 times thinner than an adult – keep out of reach
Hair Straighteners – Keep out of reach during use and whilst cooling down as this can take up to 40 minutes. If you have one, use a heat resistant pouch to store straighteners out of reach immediately after use.
Cooking appliances – Keep children away from cooker and hobs. Try to have an activity planned that will entertain your child whilst you are cooking – bring out a different toy box at cooking time to help distract child.
2 – Things that can poison me
Cleaning products – chemicals stored under the kitchen sink for example: cleaners, disinfectant, bleach, washing capsules and detergents, dishwasher tablets, oven cleaner. Keep in a locked cupboard or high up out of reach.
Medications and toiletries – prescription and over the counter medications are very dangerous for children, including ointment and creams. Keep in a locked cupboard or high up out of reach. Remember child resistant lids are NOT Child Proof.
3 – I can fall easily
Windows – as the weather warms up and windows are open, ensure large opening windows are kept locked or fitted with a window restrictor to prevent child falling out of window. Keep furniture away from windows to prevent climbing.
Babies – never leave baby sleeping on a bed or sofa, it takes just seconds for them to fall off.
Stairs – Keep children under the age of 24 months away from stairs. Safe at Home can discuss safety gates with you. Teach older children to come down stairs safely. Never leave items on the stairs.
4 – I can choke on small things
Check all low level drawers, shelves, tables etc. to see if there are small items that your child can put in their mouth. Ensure any possible hazards are out of reach.
Button Cell Batteries – Take a look around your home for electrical gadgets and toys that have button cell batteries. Check to see if the product has a screw back battery compartment to prevent children accessing the battery. Button batteries can kill a child within hours if accidently ingested, as the battery will cause internal burns. Store all batteries out of reach and discard old batteries safely.
Always supervise your child when eating or snacking and cut foods into slim lengths rather than round shapes. Avoid giving young children hard shelled mini eggs which are a choking hazard.
5 – Garden Safety
Water – Ensure children are always supervised when using paddling pools. Ensure ponds/ hot tubs etc. are covered – children can drown in less than 5cm of water in a matter of seconds.
BBQ’s – Keep children well away from barbeques and store matches and lighters out of reach.
Ensure garden gates and sheds have a bolt at the top out of reach of children.
If you work with families, when did you last talk to a parent about their relationship with their partner?
We are very aware of the importance of being vigilant for signs of domestic abuse, but what about if the issue is more about frequent, intense and poorly resolved parental conflict? We often find it uncomfortable to ask personal questions about relationships, but there is a growing body of evidence on the importance of the parental relationship to children’s outcomes. Whether the parents are together or separated, parental conflict can affect children’s emotional, behavioural, social and academic development.
Defining the Problem:
•1,249,820 children and young people in families where at least one parent reports parental relationship distress
•12% of children live in households where at least one parent reports relationship distress… this rises to 28% of children when at least one member of the household is unemployed.
Parental conflict: the impact on children
Conflict is a normal and necessary part of family life. However, when conflict between parents is handled in destructive rather than constructive ways, it can have negative consequences both for parents and their children. It is important to acknowledge that children are vulnerable to the impact of conflict whether their parents are together, apart, or in the process of separation.
Parental conflict places children at risk of:
•negative peer relationships within their community and within school; with both peers and school staff, leading to lower academic outcomes
•earlier involvement with drug and alcohol misuse
•poor future adult relationships
•future lower employability leading to financial difficulties and increased risk of poverty in the future
•increased risk of poor mental health as children, and into adulthood
•negative impact on neurobiological processes, which in turn affect children’s emotional development, leading to conduct disorder, poor attachment and risk-taking behaviours
•children are also at risk of a range of health difficulties including sleep disorders, digestive problems, abdominal pains, fatigue, headaches and reduced physical growth
It is important to note conflict between parents, rather than the event of parental separation or divorce, is a key factor in explaining why some children fare better than others when parental relationships breakdown.
Offering support to families from any agency is likely to be ineffective where the conflict between parents is not acknowledged and addressed.
Luton Council, Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire, and Families First Bedfordshire are working together to create a pan-Bedfordshire strategic team to drive the Reducing Parental Conflict Programme (RPC). They are building on current practice and programmes such as Five to Thrive, Parents as First Teachers, Mellow Parenting and Triple P, as well as learning from the Local Family Offer, and using insight and data to understand the impact of parental conflict on adolescent mental health.
What are we doing already?
Alongside the development of a training plan, local authority senior management teams and frontline family practitioners are currently working with the RPC leads to:
•understand the evidence base around parental conflict and child outcomes and what works
•undertake local needs analysis and explore links to existing strategies and plans
Senior Management Teams are on board and working with the RPC leads to link the RPC programme to existing strategies and plans. There is a real commitment at all levels to drive this programme and strengthen our response to reducing parental conflict, and improving outcomes for children and young people.
Over 120 Luton professionals have accessed face to face training and eLearning training is soon to be rolled out for staff to sign up to.
Support for parents
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents us all with huge challenges in protecting ourselves and our families and it’s important to stay at home at the moment. But, over long periods of time, this can put a strain on relationships and might lead to arguments.
There are links here for parents to consider how they may argue better and protect children from the harm that unresolved conflict may cause.
– information on local and national support document
Managing a breakup
Looking at the impact parental conflict has on children
https://cafcass.clickrelationships.org/ – Co-parenting Hub
Resources for professionals
Local Safeguarding Board
Families First Bedfordshire
Early Intervention Foundation
As I write this article, we are still in national lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. So much has changed since the beginning of 2020 and we are all finding new ways to carry on working and provide services to the families of Luton.
In early March, we all began to become aware of the potential impact of Covid-19 in this country and numbers of parents attending our group sessions began to decline. Initially we were worried about quarantining people who had returned from a trip abroad but we quickly realised that the coronavirus was present in this country and we all had to take on advice to wash our hands frequently and get used to new terminology such as ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’.
Having completed an exercise to review our Business Continuity Plans we found ourselves in a situation where we had to test them for real. Then things started happening quickly and the delivery of all groups stopped from week of 13March. On 23March, we all found ourselves in lockdown and we had to react rapidly to work out how we could continue to support our partner agencies and the families of Luton
We asked Children’s Centre staff to work from home where-ever possible and all children’s centre buildings were closed to the public. Redgrave Children and Young people’s Centre became a base for the Luton and Dunstable community midwifery team (as did Chaul End Community Centre). When a decision was made to move all immunisation clinics for under-fives out of GP surgeries we volunteered our children’s centre premise to be used for clinics and our children’s centre building at Limbury is currently being used as an immunisation clinic every Tuesday and Thursday.
As with many services across Luton, we have reviewed our usual ways of working to ensure the health and safety of our teams and the families we support. Whilst our group sessions and face-to face services are no longer taking place we can still provide support to parents by phone, on the Flying Start website and via our social media pages.
Our Family Workers are providing support, advice and guidance by phone and parents can ring us on the appropriate number or email as below
Flying Start Central: 01582 546931 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Flying Start North: 01582 546925 or email@example.com
Flying Start South: 01582 546929 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Flying Start West: 01582 546932 or email@example.com
For more generalised parenting queries, such as toilet training, bedtime routines, behaviour etc., Flying Start Luton have set up a helpline for parents to ring between 10 and 3 pm on weekdays. The telephone number for this universal helpline is 07501 722556.
All Luton parents and carers are able to access FREE online courses at www.inourplace.co.uk using access code HATTERS and their Luton postcode. This includes four courses; antenatal, postnatal, understanding your child and understanding your teenager’s brain.
We are providing material on our Facebook pages for all families to access at a time that suits them such as home-learning ideas and activities, story times and rhyme times.
Key information such as videos of our three-week Bump to Babe course can be found on the Flying Start website: https://www.flyingstartluton.com/
We are still accepting Service Request Forms from any professional who would like us to support families with under- fives.
From 27April our FSCC staff we will be supporting our colleagues in the 0-19 teams at Cambridge Community NHS Trust by making calls to parents of children aged 6-8 weeks to carry out a telephone check and offer additional support to those who need it.
We are getting used to new ways of doing things be it holding meeting via Skype, Zoom or tele-conferencing and working from our kitchens/dining rooms/bedrooms. Some of our staff members have been ill (and recovered) or have had to self-isolate with their family but we are all supporting each other and maintaining a team spirit.
I would like to thank the Flying Start staff members for their resilience, inventiveness, and determination to find new ways that we can support families and children during these unprecedented times.