Health and Safety Standards

Comprehensive information for Early Years Settings is set out in the National Health and Safety Performance Standards for Out-of-Home Child Care Programmes 

Baby Friendly Initiative

Sheffield Supports the Baby Friendly initiative, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and close loving parent-infant relationships.

Training is available on a regular basis and settings who apply for the HEY award will be given dates by the Quality Improvement Officers and early years community workers. More information about Baby Friendly is available here 

Example menus and guidance for use in early years settings

Public Health England, the Department for Education and the Department of Health have published downloadable example menus and guidance. These will support early years settings in England to provide meals and snacks in line with current government dietary recommendations for infants and children aged six months to four years. Early years settings may make use of these to inform and help them prepare healthy, balanced and nutritious meals, as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. This guidance also forms a core strand of the government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. The example menus and accompanying guidance are available from GOV.UK and accompanying infographics are available from Action for Children.

Heathy Early Years (HEY) Award

Sheffield City Council encourages all early years settings including childminders to apply for Healthy Early Years Status. Being awarded Director of Public Health award demonstrates that you are giving families and children you work with the very best start in life.

To receive the award we have a toolkit for you to complete. After completion, you will be awarded Silver Status and will be eligible to use our Start Well Sheffield logo in your promotional activities including social media and leaflets.

To discover more about the advantages of Healthy Early Years Status and Healthy Start in Childcare training email 

Start Well Sheffield- Family Group Programme

Start Well Sheffield Family Group Programme. This programme replaced HENRY in April 2018 (health, exercise, and nutrition for the really young) which Sheffield City Council has been delivering over the last five years.

We have developed Start Well Sheffield as we want to tailor its content to be accessible and useful to the population of Sheffield.

Subjects include healthy eating habits; looking after ourselves as parents; age-appropriate physical activities for the family; understanding parenting styles; managing behaviour; offering guided choices; discussing appropriate portion sizes; looking at snack swaps; food labelling with Change4Life app; and talking about emotional health and wellbeing.

This programme is for parents and carers who have children aged 0-4. It is a two and a half hour per week programme running over five weeks with its focus being giving children the very best start in life. Free crèche is available.

We will develop a training session for all early years providers in Sheffield, including childminders on the content of Start Well Sheffield and this training will replace HSCC.

Contact for further information 


Nearly two-thirds of parents fail to give their under-fives vitamin tablets because they believe a healthy diet is sufficient. Government guidance is that:

  • Children aged six months to five years old should take vitamins A, C and D
  • Only 30% of parents nationally have been advised about supplements by health staff
  • Many are unaware of the importance of supplementing their children's diets
  • Experts think parents struggle to keep up with regularly-updated guidelines

Healthy Start woman vitamin tablets are available free to eligible patients or at low cost from local family centres and some pharmacies

Children’s vitamin drops are available free to eligible patients or at low cost from a local Family Hub and some pharmacies.

Oral Health Programme

Tooth decay remains a significant public health problem. In England, 25% of 5 year olds are affected, with the severity and burden on children being much greater in children living in deprived areas. Tooth decay impacts on children’s lives through pain, difficulty eating and sleeping with wider impacts on the family and school. Healthy Child Programmes are designed to improve the health of children, including their dental health.

You can download the new oral health pathway and supporting information below.

Unfortunately, dental decay in children and young people is common, and if left untreated can have a significant impact on a child’s development and well-being. As indicated in the SSCB Neglect Strategy the failure of parents/ carers to seek treatment in cases of dental decay may constitute neglect.

A leaflet has been produced by Sheffield’s Paediatric Dental Department to raise awareness of the consequences of untreated decay on children and young people and the need to support families to seek treatment and attend appointments.

You can download the leaflet here.

Whilst aimed at practitioners, the format of the document makes it ideal to share with families. This and other Dental Neglect information and resources can be downloaded from the Neglect page on the SSCB website.

You can download the document here.

Seasonal vaccinations

Flu is a common infection in babies and children and can be very unpleasant for them. Children under the age of five have the highest hospital admission rates for flu compared to other age groups.

For many years the flu vaccine has been offered to those who are most at risk of severe illness from flu. This includes pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions including children. The flu program has been gradually expanding to also include young children.

All children who are aged two, three and four years old on 31 August can get the flu vaccine at their general practice. This is usually given by the practice nurse and for most children is a quick and painless nasal spray. A helpful leaflet for early years providers about the vaccination program can be found here: 

What can staff in early years settings do to support the programme?

Your staff can raise awareness of flu vaccinations amongst parents using the resources in the link above. Posters and leaflets can also be downloaded or ordered for free at 

What about our staff?

Staff with certain medical conditions that put them more at risk of flu or who are pregnant are entitled to free flu vaccination through the NHS. Eligible staff should contact their GP practice and some local pharmacies also provide this service.

Sepsis Awareness

Sepsis is a rare but serious complication of an infection. Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death. Babies and young children are particularly susceptible and fast medical attention is vital so it’s important that all those working with little ones are aware of the symptoms.

In older babies and children, symptoms may include a fever, irritability, difficulty breathing, and drowsiness. A child may also seem irritable, confused, have trouble breathing, have a rash, appear ill, or complain that his or her heart feels like it's racing. Medical attention is needed right away if a child has these symptoms. 

Ofsted Guidance on administering medicines

Ofsted requires that providers must:

  • have, and put into practice an effective policy on giving medicines to children in your setting, which must include effective systems to support children with medical needs.
  • keep written records of all medicines you give to children, and tell parents about these records.
  • get written permission from parents for every medicine before you give any medication.