The 'six-week check' is part of the NHS Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) programme. Along with the newborn examination, it’s a vital part of the 'Healthy Child Programme', the Department of Health guideline for promoting child health in the UK.

Professional examination of babies should take place between 6-8 weeks of age and should include:

· A review of their development
· A physical examination
· An opportunity to offer health promotion advice
· The chance for parents to express any concerns

What are the key points to look for?
The main purpose of the six to eight week check is to detect:
· Congenital heart disease
· Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)
· Any congenital cataracts
· Undescended testes

The core examination is set out in National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance 'Postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth'.

This should comprise:
· A check of the baby’s weight
· Measurement of head circumference (and opportunity to palpate sutures and fontanelles, and assess head shape)
· A general assessment of appearance: colour, behaviour, breathing, activity, and skin (colour, for example if there are any birthmarks, rashes or jaundice)
· Assessment of tone, movements and posture.
· Assessment of head: fontanelles, face, nose, palate, symmetry.
· Assessment of the eyes for the presence of the red reflex and visual fixing.
· Assessment of the heart: position, murmurs, rate, femoral pulses.
· Assessment of the lungs: added sounds and rate.
· Assessment of the abdomen: shape, organomegaly, hernia.
· Assessment of the genitalia to check for any abnormalities
· Examination of the hips (by Barlow and Ortolani tests, and by looking for symmetrical skin creases in the thighs).
· Assessment of the spine.

The six to eight week check is essentially about the physical health of the new baby but also the mental wellbeing of the parents. Having a newborn is an exciting but stressful time for many, and it’s important that you not only carry out the checks according to guidelines but develop your ability to sense if further support is needed.

Do you need to update your 6-8 week baby screening skills?
Following Public Health England’s new-born and infant physical examination (NIPE) screening guidelines, PDUK’s Six-eight-week baby check: update your screening skills course offers practitioners who need to refresh their skills the chance to boost their CPD hours in a professional, interactive learning environment. It’s is aimed at practitioners who have already completed a university accredited course and need to meet yearly update requirements. Hands on practice will form part of the day along with exploration of normal and abnormal findings.

The six to eight week baby screening course is a one-day course worth 8 hours of CPD and held in London on two dates: 4th December 2019 and 17th June 2020. Spaces are limited so book yours today to avoid disappointment.