There are more than a million children in the UK who have a long-term, or even lifelong, illness and need medicines for the forseeable future.
Children with medical needs have the same rights of admission to schools as other children. They should be properly supported in school so that they can play a full and active role in school life, remain healthy and achieve their academic potential.
Schools are legally obliged to ensure that all children with health needs are properly supported in school and have full access to education, including school trips and PE.
Schools, local authorities, health professionals and other support services will work together to ensure that children with medical conditions receive a full education.
Discuss with your GP or consultant how your child's condition should be managed during the school day. For example, it may be possible to prescribe medicine for your child that can be taken before and after school, instead of in the middle of the day.
They will also be able to give the information you'll need to give the school. They can also give you advice on the arrangements that the school may have to make, such as keeping medicines on site or helping to administer medicines.
The information you need to give the school should include:
- details of medicines your child needs to take and when they're needed
- any side effects of the medicines
- what constitutes an emergency
- what to do, and not to do, in an emergency
- special requirements, such as dietary needs, and measures that must be taken before your child is physically active
whether your child will need to be absent from school regularly to meet medical appointments.
The school should be able to agree with you on how it will manage your child's condition during the school day. As a parent, you and your child should be fully involved with and contribute as much as possible to this individual health plan.
Your child's school should have a medical conditions policy setting out how it supports children with long-term and medical conditions. This policy will usually be published on the school's website. If it isn't, ask the school for a copy.
This policy will cover the following:
- How medicines will be managed and administered during the school day. Any member of staff administering medicines should be fully trained.
- How medicines will be managed and administered during school outings.
- Who the school will contact if there's an emergency.
- How the school will meet special needs, such as diet.
- How the school will help your child to participate in physical activity and school trips, if needed.
Babies should be taken to the dentist for regular visits from 6 months old.
Dental treatment is free for pregnant women until the child is one year old and free for all children under 18 years old.
- Brush your baby’s teeth as soon as a tooth appears
- Brush before bedtime and one other time during the day
- Use a toothpaste with at least 1000 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride (Check the label)
- Just a smear of toothpaste on the brush for under 3s and a pea sized amount for over 3s
- Spit, don’t rinse after brushing
- Supervise your child whilst they are brushing their teeth until they are eight years old
- Don’t add sugar to any food or drink given to babies
- Avoid giving sugary and acidic foods and drinks between meals and an hour before bedtime
- Honey, smoothies, fruit juice and dried fruit are not tooth-friendly
- Milk is a tooth friendly drink during the day; water is tooth friendly at any time
- From 6 months onwards encourage the use of open top cups - discourage bottle use after the age of one year
- Remember to ask for sugar-free medicines when possible
Regular toothbrushing is important for both children and adults. It helps to remove the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay and gum disease. It is recommended that everybody brush their teeth twice a day – in the morning and before going to bed at night.
Tooth decay, toothache, having teeth removed is almost entirely preventable and is the single largest reason why children aged between five and nine are admitted to hospital. Make brushing teeth as much fun as possible to help keep your kids' teeth decay-free.
Videos to help with toothbrushing
- Sing along with The Toothbrush Song from Hey Duggee
- Brush along with Bob!
- The Brush Bus Song!
- Brush Your teeth!
- Sesame Street Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me: Brushy Brush PSA
- How to care for the teeth of children aged 0-3 with Dr Ranj and Supertooth!
- How to care for the teeth children aged 7+ with Dr Ranj and Supertooth!
- Helping to understand a visit to a Dentist (adults in videos but the same for children and young people)