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Paediatrics & Child Health

Paediatrics and Child Health 

Improving the health of children and young people is a priority for Paediatrics & Child Health Division of the RACP. One way the Division contributes to this process is through the development of a comprehensive set of position statements relating to the health and wellbeing of children and young people. The Division Policy & Advocacy Committee, Chaired by Dr Jacqueline Small, has responsibility for this process and for ensuring that the voice of paediatricians contributes in a meaningful way to service planning, government strategy, paediatric practice and by providing information to other interested people. In this way, the Division can advocate for a range of health issues of children and young people in an informed and expert way, based on current research, standards and practice.

This website thematically lists the current position statements of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division, submissions that have been developed from the position statements, and other related documents or links. They are reviewed periodically to ensure they remain current and relevant to the needs of paediatricians and children and young people. Please contact paed@racp.edu.au if you wish to provide comment about these position statements. 

A summary of annual activities:

2014 Policy & Media Outputs - at July 2014

2013 Policy & Media Outputs - at December 2013

2012 Policy & Media Outputs - at 20 December 2012

Page index:

CURRENT MATTERS

Physical Punishment of Children Position Statement

The Paediatrics & Child Health Division of the RACP has launched a Physical Punishment of Children Position Statement highlighting the harmful effects of physical punishment to discipline children and calling for law reform on the issue. The statement promotes alternative strategies for disciplining children that emphasise positive reinforcement and called for better support for parents and caregivers to educate them about the potential harmful effects of physical punishment and other violence on children.

Paediatricians play an important role in educating parents about effective disciplinary strategies for children and this statement contains strategies for engaging parents in alternate methods of punishment. See the following links for the position statement, brochure and media release.

Position Statement

Brochure

Media Release

Consensus Statement on Physical Punishment of Children

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has launched a Consensus Statement  - August 2013 calling for community support to end the physical punishment of children.

The Consensus Statement calls for support from community groups and individuals to help educate parents about the harmful effects of physical punishment on children, the alternative (and more effective) forms of discipline and to advocate to government for legislative change.

Become a signatory

Early Intervention for Children with Developmental Disabilities Position Statement

At the 27th International Congress of Pediatrics 2013 in Melbourne, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) launched the Early Intervention for Children with Developmental Disabilities Position Statement - August 2013, which calls for a rethink around the provision of early intervention services for children with disabilities in Australia.

The RACP's Early Intervention for Children with Developmental Disabilities Position Statement makes a number of recommendations regarding the delivery of early intervention programs for children with disabilities including:

  • Equity of access to intervention and other services, irrespective of the medical diagnosis of a child with a disability;
  • Ensuring they are aligned with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities; and
  • Enduring a coordinated, planned, family-centred approach that reflects a longer term approach to health and wellbeing outcomes.

The RACP believes that examining the functional abilities, developmental diagnoses, health conditions and other factors likely to influence future outcomes and wellbeing will enable parents and health professionals to tailor the intervention and support to better match the intervention and support to the child and family's needs.

Position Statement - August 2013

Media Release - August 2013

Oral Health of Children and Young People

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has joined with the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (RACDS) in calling on the incoming government to commit to policies that protect and promote the dental health of children.

Oral Health in Children and Young People (PDF 234KB) August 2013
Media release - August 2013
Child Oral Health: Public Statement from the RACP Paediatric & Child Health Division (PDF 48KB) August 2012
Joint Statement on Child Oral Health: The RACP and the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons announce their intention to collaborate to achieve better dental health outcomes for children and young people (PDF 119KB) September 2012

RACP New Zealand have developed a factsheet on water fluoridation for members to refer to. (PDF 373KB) September 2013

National Children's Commissioner

The Paediatrics & Child Health Division has been a longstanding advocate for the establishment of a National Children's Commissioner to better identify and respond the needs of children, particularly where they require a coordinated response from government and services. In 2012 we welcomed the announcement that a National Children's Commissioner will be established and we congratulated Megan Mitchell who started this role in 2013. The Division looks forward to a fruitful relationship with the Commissioner.

Submission to the Senate Inquiry

The early childhood years are critically important for lifelong health and wellbeing. The Division believes that an increased emphasis on the health of all children is important and also recommends the establishment of a senior paediatric adviser or national paediatrician.

Incarcerated Adolescents

The RACP has a specific interest in the health and well-being of incarcerated adolescents. We have an existing body of work relating to this:

There is a current PCHD advocacy campaign for the health and well-being of incarcerated adolescents - this was launched 7 June 2013. Please click here where you will find information and template letters addressed to Government Ministers that you will be able to use to advocate for health of children in detention.

Health of Children in Immigration Detention

The RACP has a particular interest in the health impact of immigration detention/refugees on children and young people. We have an existing body of work relating to the health of refugee children:

The RACP has also made a number of public statements and submissions in this area and continue to seek opportunities to advocate for the health of vulnerable children:

There is a current PCHD advocacy campaign for health and well-being of children in detention/refugees - this was launched 7 June 2013. Please click here where you will find information and template letters addressed to Government Ministers that you will be able to use to advocate for health of children in detention.

Age Determination

The use of wrist x-rays in children and young people as long been a policy priority for the RACP, and in 2012 RACP provided a submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission's Inquiry into the treatment of individuals suspected of people smuggling offences who say that they are children.

The RACP welcomes the Federal Government's announcement in May 2013 regarding the potential abolishment of the practice.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

The Division released a position statement on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in April 2012. Subsequently the President of the Division signed the National (Australia) Compact on Female Genital Mutilation in April 2013.

Immunisation

The Paediatrics & Child Health Division (P&CHD) has recently launched its Immunisation Position Statement, calling for all healthcare professionals to be vigilant in ensuring children are immunised. Although Australia and New Zealand have high overall immunisation rates, some groups of children have much lower rates of immunisation and are at much higher risk of diseases. This policy guides paediatricians and other health care providers in assisting children and their parents who may be concerned about risks of adverse effects of immunisation. A media statement was released 22 April 2013 that shows College support to World Health Organization's (WHO) World Immunization Week (22 to 30 April 2013).  This is in line with the Division President signing:

  1. Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication.
  2. Measles, Rubella and Routine Immunization.
  3. Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD)

Paediatric Policy

CHILD RIGHTS

Age Determination

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

Ethics of Research in Children

Health of Refugee Children

Refer to Current Matters/Health of Children in Immigration Detention.

Health of Children in "Out-of-Home" Care

Protecting Children 

CHILD POPULATION AND PUBLIC HEALTH

Circumcision

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians ("RACP") recognises that there are differing medical opinions on aspects of the circumcision of infant males. The purpose of the RACP Position Statement is to provide expert opinion and information to assist clinicians and parents to make informed decisions.

Circumcision - RACP Position Statement (PDF: 448KB) September 2010
Parent's brochure (Revised February 2012). Printed brochures are available to purchase for $25 per 25 copies and $0.80 per brochure thereafter (including GST and postage). To order email paed@racp.edu.au.

Early Intervention

Oral Health

Oral Health of Children and Young People

Breastfeeding/Formula

Children and the Media

Early Childhood

STANDARDS AND QUALITY

HEALTH ISSUES

BEHAVIOUR AND DEVELOPMENT

NEONATAL

ADOLESCENT AND YOUNG ADULT

PALLIATIVE CARE

SUBMISSIONS

Further information: paed@racp.edu.au