Birth to age five is a critical period in a child’s life. It is a time of rapid growth and development, socially and emotionally as well as physically. Establishing good health and safety practices early can help prevent injury and give children a good foundation for a healthy life.
Mandatory newborn screening programs: For some conditions, early diagnosis is so important that New Jersey requires testing in the hospital at birth. Currently this includes genetic and biochemical screening (testing) for 55 specific metabolism disorders plus hearing loss screening.
Young children also need:
- The healthy benefits of breastfeeding and a safe sleep environment
- Immunizations against disease
- Nutritious food and good eating habits
- Protection from household and neighborhood hazards
- Early screening for lead poisoning
- Safe child care while away from their parents
Children with Special Health Needs: For children with complex, long-term medical and developmental disabilities, prompt attention to their condition early in life helps assure they will lead healthier lives when they are older.