Vitamin Drops & Healthy Start Vitamins
Young children may not get enough vitamin A and D even if they are eating well. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you may not get enough vitamin C or D or folic acid.
Vitamin D keeps bones and muscles healthy, it’s best to take a vitamin D supplement every day between October and early March. Just 10 micrograms a day is all you need – it’s the same for kids and grown-ups.

Healthy Start Card
Applying for Healthy Start Card – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)
You can use your Healthy Start card to get these important vitamins for free. These come as NHS Healthy Start tablets and drops for children. They do not contain milk, egg, gluten, soya or peanut residues. They’re suitable for vegetarians and halal diets.
You can get the vitamin tablets while you’re pregnant and up to your baby’s 1st birthday. They contain: folic acid which lowers the chance of babies having spinal problems, vitamin C which helps the body’s soft tissue, vitamin D which helps babies’ bones to develop properly.

Children can take vitamin drops if they:
Are less than 4 years old.
Have less than 500ml (about one pint) of infant formula a day – as formula already has vitamins added to it.

The Healthy Start card
If you’re receiving a qualifying benefit and are pregnant or have parental responsibility for at least one child under the age of 4, you can apply online now for the healthy start card.
You can still use any valid vouchers to get free vitamins.
Ask your midwife or health visitor where to get your free vitamins.
To collect your free vitamins, you’ll have to show your Healthy Start card or vouchers. You can collect from most Family Centres.

Healthy Start vitamins come as an 8-week supply of:
56 tablets (a daily dose of 1 tablet)
280 drops (a daily dose of 5 drops)
You or your children should not take more than the recommended amount.
You’ll get money added onto your card every 4 weeks to spend on certain food and milk.

You’ll get:
£4.25 each week of your pregnancy from the 10th week
£8.50 each week for children from birth to 1
£4.25 each week for children between 1 and 4
Your money will stop when your child is 4, or if you no longer receive benefits.

Public Health England Better Health Campaign
The grown-ups need to be healthy too . Tips for losing weight, getting active, wellbeing support, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake. Better Health – NHS (

Families doing it together – helping each other to grow healthy and strong.
Here are 5 key ways to help your child achieve a healthy weight:

  • Be a good role model
  • Encourage 60 minutes, and up to several hours, of physical activity a day
  • Keep to child-sized portions
  • Eat healthy meals, drinks and snacks
  • Less screen time and more sleep

If you are worried your child may be overweight use the NHS BMI calculator to help you (for children aged 2-18 years of age).
If you are concerned about your child’s weight or growth, contact a GP or school nurse.

Very overweight
Very overweight children tend to grow up to be very overweight adults, which can lead to health problems.
If your child is very overweight, there’s lots you can do to help them become a healthier weight as they grow. Getting them to be more active and eat well is important.

More young children than ever are overweight, but it’s not always easy to tell if toddlers and very young children are overweight.
As a parent, there’s plenty you can do to help your child become a healthier weight, like getting them eating well and increasing their activity levels.
Keep encouraging your child to eat well and move more, and they are more likely to stay a healthy weight.

If you’re concerned your child is underweight, take your child to see your GP. Low weight can occur for a number of reasons.

6 ways to help your child with their weight
Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference – try these top tips.

Find some support:
Speak to your child’s school nurse, GP or practice nurse who will help support your family with diet and lifestyle changes if needed.

Make some healthier food swaps:
There are lots of easy ways to cut back on sugar, salt and saturated fat.

Eat balanced meals:
Find out what a healthy, balanced diet looks like.

Try some new recipes:
Get inspiration to help your family eat well every day.

Get moving:
Try boosting your family’s activity levels in 10-minute bursts.

Less screen time, better sleep:
Sitting around too much makes it more likely your child will put on weight and can affect how well they sleep. Sleeping well helps kids develop, stay healthy and perform better at school.
Support near you – HENRY Drop in Sessions at the SAVS hub, the HENRY programme, Start4life website, the NHS Food Scanner App, Healthier Families NHS Recipes, Family Centres, health visitors, school nurses and GP’s.

Exercise near you:

Park Play – Free fun and games for all. Every Saturday. At different locations. To find out where Park Play is taking place near to you, please log onto park-
The Southend Advantage Card can be used to get money off selected local services.

The Bee Well Project – Facebook
Infant Massage – check the family centres for details of their courses.
Mindful Mums Southend meet every Wednesday for a walk and a chat. No referral needed. Different locations every week. Check their Facebook page for details.
The Family Centres in Southend have many group sessions on in the week. Please check their Facebook page or website to see what is happening at your nearest centre.
Chaos and Calm sessions for children with disabilities or additional needs every week at the SAVS hub in Southend. Please check their website for times and to book sessions.
Little Heroes ASD Support Group is a parent led support group for families of children who are on the autistic spectrum. Please check their website for information of their inclusive indoor and outdoor sessions.

Growing your own Food
Families Growing Together
In partnership with A Better Start Southend.
Enjoy the outdoors with your children and meet other families at our Growing Together community gardens in Shoeburyness and Westcliff.
Pick up some gardening tips and share the joy of planting, nurturing and harvesting fresh fruit and vegetables with your children. There are other activities on offer too, from healthy eating and cookery sessions to creative workshops – available at the gardens or online. Your children will love getting dirty in our mud kitchen and enjoy playing with others in the sand pit. You will also get to help us create a magical woodland storytelling area to inspire their imaginations!
Drop in between 9:30 and 3:30pm on Mondays at Growing Together Shoeburyness, or Fridays at Growing Together Westcliff. Some families choose to join an entire session, whilst others prefer to drop in for a couple of hours. You choose!
How do I join Families Growing Together?
This project is open to all families living in eligible A Better Start Southend areas with children under the age of 4. Self-referrals and professional referrals are welcomed.

Premature infants
The Bliss website have lots of helpful information for when your baby comes home. Please contact your health visitor or GP is you have concerns about the growth and development of your baby.
Why is weaning important? | Bliss
Developmental milestones | Bliss
OVIVA – referral from a health visitor or GP to support with confirmed or possible cows milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance.
Please see your GP if you have concerns your child may have an allergy. Allergies are sometimes carried from family members. Genetic and environmental factors work together to contribute to the development of allergies. 

Visit the dentist by 10
Taking your baby to the dentist when their teeth first come through or by the age of one at the latest gets them off to a healthy start and accustomed to dental practice visits from an early age. Dentists are commissioned to see children from 6 months of age. It is free for all children.
From brushing their first tooth to their first trip to the dentist, here’s how to take care of your children’s teeth.
A regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for good dental health. Follow these tips and you can help keep your kids’ teeth decay-free.

Toothbrushing tips:
It’s important to use a fluoride toothpaste, as this helps prevent and control tooth decay.
Children aged up to 3 years
Start brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as the first milk tooth breaks through (usually at around 6 months, but it can be earlier or later).
Parents or carers should brush the teeth.
Brush teeth twice daily for about 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste.
Brush last thing at night before bed and on 1 other occasion.
Use children’s fluoride toothpaste containing no less than 1,000ppm of fluoride (check label) unless a dentist advises family toothpaste containing between 1,350ppm and 1,500ppm fluoride.
Use only a smear of toothpaste.
Make sure children don’t eat or lick toothpaste from the tube.

Useful links
Children’s weight – Healthier Families – NHS (
Better Health – NHS (
Start for Life (
Applying for Healthy Start – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)