Vaccines for your child

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect your child against certain diseases. These diseases can cause serious illness or even death.

How vaccines work

When your child is given a vaccine, their immune system makes antibodies. These antibodies remain in the body.

If your child comes in contact with an infection in the future, the antibodies stop them from getting sick.

Vaccine safety

As a parent, you might not like the fact that your child has to get an injection.

But vaccinations:

are quick, safe and effective protect your child from disease help your child to fight diseases

If you do not vaccinate your child, there is a chance they could become very ill, or even die.

Be ready with a feed or a hug for your child and the vaccination will be forgotten soon afterwards.

Vaccines your child will get

At 2 months

PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) (Link:

MenB vaccine (meningococcal B vaccine) (Link:

Rotavirus oral vaccine (Link:


6 in 1 vaccine

This is a single vaccine which will protect your child against the following diseases:

Diphtheria (Link:

Tetanus (Link:

Pertussis (whooping cough) (Link:

Hib (haemophilus influenzae b) (Link:

Polio (inactivated poliomyelitis) (Link: Hepatitis B (Link:

At 4 months

6 in 1 vaccine (second dose)

MenB vaccine (meningococcal B vaccine)

Rotavirus oral vaccine

At 6 months

6 in 1 vaccine (third dose)

PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)

MenC vaccine (meningococcal C vaccine)

At 12 months

MMR (measles mumps rubella)

MenB vaccine (meningococcal B vaccine)

At 13 months

Hib/MenC (haemophilus influenzae type B and Meningococcal C combined vaccine)

PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)

Talk to your GP or your public health nurse (PHN) if you have any questions.

More information on vaccines for you and your family (Link:

At 4 to 5 years

Children in Junior Infants will be offered:

4 in 1 vaccine (Link: – diphtheria, polio, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough)

MMR (measles mumps rubella) – second dose

In Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim these vaccines are given by your GP or practice nurse

At 12 to 14 years

Students in first year of secondary school will be offered the following vaccines:

HPV (Link: (human papillomavirus vaccine)

Tdap (Link: (tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough booster)

MenACWY (Link: (meningococcal A, C, W and Y vaccine)

School immunisation programme (Link:

Speak to your local school immunisation team (Link: 

Flu vaccine

Children aged 2 to 17 can now get the flu vaccine for free. This is given as a spray in the nose.

The flu vaccine will help protect your child against flu and reduce the spread of flu to others. For example, their brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents.

The flu season is from the end of October until the end of April.

Flu vaccine for children aged 2 to 17 (Link:

COVID-19 (coronavirus) vaccine

Children aged 6 months and older can get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Getting your child the COVID-19 vaccine (Link:

If your child is sick before vaccination

If your child has a fever, vaccination should be delayed until they have recovered.

If your child gets sick after a vaccine

Common side effects after vaccination are redness and soreness where your baby got their injection.

They might also become irritable.

A child may have a fever after MenB vaccination (Link: at 2 and 4 months. Infant liquid paracetamol is recommended at the 2 month and 4 month vaccinations.

Contact your GP if:

you are worried about your child after vaccination

There may be another reason they are sick.

How long vaccines take to work

It usually takes 2 weeks for vaccines to work. Your child will not be protected immediately.

Why your child needs more than 1 dose of a vaccine

Most vaccines need to be given several times to build up long-lasting protection.

For example if a child received only 1 or 2 doses of the whooping cough vaccine, the child is only partly protected. They may still catch whooping cough if the full course is not completed.

Booster doses are also recommended for some vaccines. The booster dose stimulates the immune system again and gives your child better long term protection.

 More information

Page last reviewed: 2 June 2022

Next review due: 2 June 2025



Activities to encourage speech, language and communication

Birth to 2 years:

  • Encourage the child making sounds such as ‘da’ ‘ba’ ‘ma’
  • Maintain eye contact with the child, imitate their sounds, laughter and facial expressions
  • Talk to the child during feeding, bathing and dressing. Tell the child what you are doing, where you going and who you will see.
  • Teach your child to imitate your actions such as waving bye, blowing kisses and when playing games for example, peek a boo or itsy-bitsy-spider.
  • Introduce animal sounds
  • Read to the child
  • Name the colours
  • Count

2 to 4 years

  • Use clear and simple speech
  • Repeat what your child said indicating you understood. Expand on what they said.
  • Sing simple songs and read nursery rhymes and books
  • Make a scrapbook of favourite and familiar things by cutting out pictures. Group them into categories, such as things to ride on, things to eat, things for dessert, fruits, things to play with. Count items pictured in the book.
  • Ask your child questions such as ‘are you a boy?’ ‘what colour is the grass’
  • Expands the child’s vocabulary. Name body parts, fruits, vegetable etc

4 to 6 years

  • Give your full attention when the child is speaking
  • Ensure the child has your attention before you speak
  • Acknowledge and praise the attempts to speak
  • Continue to expand their vocabulary and use the word in a simple context

Take advantage of daily activities. For example, while in the kitchen, encourage your child to name the utensils needed. Discuss the foods on the menu, their colour, texture, and taste. Which foods do you like? Which do you dislike? Who will clean up?

Copyright Lifestart 2018

Sleep in children – what to expect

  • Newborns sleep between 9-18 hours per day with an average of 14.5 hours sleep.
  • Infants (2-12 months) sleep 12-13 hours including about 3 hours of naps during the day.
  • Toddlers (1-3 years) sleep 11-13 hours per day including naps but by 18 months most toddlers have one nap of 1-3 hours per day.
  • Pre-school children (3-5 years) sleep 11-12 hours per day. Most stop taking naps between 3-5 years.

A recent large study looking at sleep in Irish children found that substantial proportions of mothers report children’s sleep patterns are at least a small problem for them (30% in infancy; 22% at 3 years and 12% at five years). This study highlights the need for parents to have information on how to develop positive sleep patterns.

Most sleep problems involve children having difficulty getting to sleep or difficulty staying asleep. The most common type of sleep problem is a sleep association which requires physical contact from a parent or feeding during the night.

Sleep Hygiene:

This is the phrase used to provide an environment conducive to sleep. This will make it easier for the child to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Babies by 3-4 months of age begin to settle in to a bedtime routine. You can help this by:

  • Making a clear difference between day and night.
  • When at home always put the baby to sleep in the same place
  • Put the baby in to the cot drowsy but awake
  • Avoid feeding or rocking the baby to sleep
  • Ensure that your baby is not hungry going to bed

The following are ways to promote satisfactory sleep in all ages (Stores 2009; p.27)

Principle Routine
Sleeping Environment conducive to sleep
  • Familiar Setting
  • Comfortable bed
  • Correct Temperature (ideally between16-20 C)
  • Darkened quiet room (the sleepy hormone melatonin is produced in the dark. Children with sensory issues can be sensitive to noise.)
  • Non-stimulating (not too many toys or gadgets. The bedroom should be restful)
  • No negative associations (punishment)
  • Bedtime routines
  • Consistent bedtime & wakening time (even on weekends)
  • Going to bed only when tired
  • Falling asleep without parents
  • Regular daily exercise & exposure to daylight
  • Too much time awake in bed
  • Overexcitement before bed or using the bedroom as a place for entertainment
  • Excessive late napping during the day (no naps after 3.30pm after 9 months of age)
  • Late evening exercise.
  • Caffeine containing drinks

Setting limits at bedtime

It is natural for children to test boundaries and many children do this at bedtime. Some children resist going to bed whilst others go to bed but get up repeatedly. Children are most likely to test limits between 3-6 years.

As a parent you need to set clear limits and boundaries at bedtime, even if your child objects. Here’s how you can make this easier.

  • Have consistent limits at bedtime. If you say two stories then stick to this! Ensure that your child has had supper, a drink and been to the toilet to avoid requests for this after you have settled them.
  • Don’t put your child to bed too early! If they are taking a long time to fall asleep then they may be in bed too early. A child should fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed. You may need to make bedtime later for a while until they can do this then gradually bring bedtime back by 15 minutes a night to the bedtime you want.
  • Have a consistent bedtime routine, done in the same way each night, they learn to know what to expect.
  • If your child gets out of bed or comes in to your room then return them to their own bed. Reward your child for staying in their own bed. Use a reward chart and have a “bigger” reward if they get 3 stickers on their chart. The “bigger” reward could be an activity like a trip to the park.
  • The key to success is consistency! Keep going even if you meet resistance initially, it will get better!

Night wakenings

Night wakenings are one of the most common problems parents report and are mostly seen in babies and toddlers.

To understand night wakenings it is important to realize that we all waken briefly during the night. There are two different types of sleep. Deep sleep (called non rapid eye movement sleep) and the lighter stages of sleep (called rapid eye movement sleep). We all have sleep cycles during the night were we transition between deep and light sleep.

For small children they typically fall in to a deep sleep within 5 minutes of going to sleep. This first sleep cycle lasts about 3-4 hours and is mostly deep sleep. As the child transitions to lighter sleep they stir and move around and may open their eyes. If everything is the same as when they first went to sleep they will fall asleep again quickly. However if there is something missing then the child will try to recreate the conditions they had to initially fall asleep.

In order to avoid night wakenings the child needs to learn to fall asleep in his own bed without props or a parent present. Common props or sleep associations are physical contact from a parent; rocking or feeding.

You can help your child sleep well by:

  • Establishing a good bedtime routine done in the same way each night at around the same time.
  • Encourage the use of blankets/teddies which can help the child feel secure when the parent is not present. (Avoid toys with music or lights).
  • Ensure the bedroom is dark and quiet.
  • Put the child to bed drowsy but awake (they should wake up where they went to sleep).
  • If you usually hold your child or rub their back then sit beside the cot/bed to let them know you are there without the physical contact (if they have contact falling asleep they usually need it to get back to sleep during the night).

Your local Public health Nurse can provide more information and support relating to behavioural sleep difficulties if you need it.


Mindell JA & Owens JA (2015) A Clinical Guide to Pediatric Sleep: Diagnosis and Management of Sleep Problems, 3nd edition.

Hanafin S. Sleep patterns and problems in infants and young children in Ireland. Child Care Health Dev. 2017: 1-6.








Access to Justice Initiative

Need legal information for a child, young person or family you are working with?

Starting this Wednesday the Children’s Rights Alliance is commencing the first phase of the Access to Justice Initiative and establishing an information line for children, young people and their families or people who are working with them to access legal information.

Our new information line is open Tuesday 10am -2pm and Wednesday 3pm -7pm.

You can call us on 01 9020494 or if you prefer to email:

We provide basic legal information for free and would be glad to help!

For more information on this contact Julie Ahern our Access to Justice Manager by email

Watch this space for our next exciting announcement from the Access to Justice Initiative over the coming weeks!

Anam Cara Bereavement Support evening in Donegal Town

Bereavement Information Evening

   Venue:         The Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal

  Date:            Tuesday, March 20th 2018

  Time:            7.00pm – 9.00pm (Registration from 6:45pm)

 Anam Cara, the all-Ireland organisation providing support services to bereaved parents and families, is hosting a Bereavement Information Evening in Donegal Town. This event gives parents an opportunity to hear an experienced bereavement professional talk about the many challenges their family may face after the death of a son or daughter.

Please note this event is open to all bereaved parents, regardless of the age of their child or the circumstances of their death.

If you have attended a previous Bereavement Information Evening, we would encourage you to come again because each time you will hear something that will help you along the difficult and challenging journey of grief. There will also be time after the talk to interact with other bereaved parents.

Details for the upcoming Bereavement Talk on Tuesday 20th March:

Guest Speaker:  Peter McCartan

 Peter is a Professional qualified Senior Medical Social Worker and Registered Systemic Family Therapist.

This talk will cover:

  • The complex issues grieving parents must face when they have experienced the death of their child, highlighting what is normal in this process.
  • The gender differences in facing such a loss will be explored to give an understanding for both parents of their differing worldviews.
  • It will highlight the milestones on the journey through this unique grief and the small supports that can make the journey a little easier.
  • Various types of loss, whether expected or sudden, will also be discussed to understand their impact on grieving parents, their families and the deceased child’s siblings.

Anam Cara provides a range of support services for bereaved parents which include a comprehensive website with links to resources including videos and information booklets compiled by bereaved parents. See  or contact us at or our information line on 085 2888 888.

Along with bereavement information evenings, Anam Cara runs monthly parent evenings which give parents an opportunity to meet with other parents in a safe and comfortable place over a cup of tea or coffee. Throughout the year Anam Cara also hosts a variety of social and remembrance helping to bring families together.

Recognising that some parents may prefer not to talk openly about their loss. Anam Cara would like to reassure parents there is no pressure for them to contribute and they are welcome to listen to how other Mums and Dads have coped through the intense grief and sense of loss.

This information evening, like all Anam Cara events, is provided free of charge to parents.

Anam Cara will need to confirm numbers for this event. We would appreciate if you could RSVP to before Monday 19th March 2018 or contact us on 01 4045378 – 0879637790. This event is funded by Tusla.

Banking fraud and scam awareness event

Fraud and Scam Awareness Event


St Shanaghan House, Ardara.

Wednesday 21st March. 11.30-1pm

Eve Curran, Community Banker for Ulster Bank will be hosting this special event in St Shanaghan House, 11.30-1pm Wednesday 21st March 2018. This event is open to everyone. You do not have to be an Ulster Bank customer.

  • Presentation talk on how to spot fraud/scams
  • Supports in banking safely and securely
  • Helping you and your family in the best way to maintain financial independence.
  • Eve and her colleague Denise Cusack (Ulster Bank’s specialist Community Protection Officer) will be on hand to answer any individual questions or offer one to one support
  • Light refreshments will be served


Eve can be reached on or 087 1926529.

Supporting Young People’s Mental Health

Jigsaw Donegal will be presenting an evening on Supporting Young People’s Mental Health in the Community Room at the Church of the Irish Martyrs, Ballyraine, Letterkenny on Tuesday 20th March 7.30 – 9pm. Everyone is welcome to this free event.

For more information on Jigsaw just click the link:-

Parents Plus Adolescent Programme coming to Inishowen

Are you the parent of a teenager aged 11 – 16? Would you like the opportunity to be involved in a parenting course which would help you to communicate with each other positively and effectively, build your teenagers’ confidence and self-esteem, negotiate rules and boundaries, manage conflict, teach your teen about responsibility and develop skills around positive discipline? Here is your chance:-

You can book on line here

You can also request a booking form by phoning 087 1736667 or emailing Places are limited so book yours early.

The course is free to attend, with just a €10 charge for the very useful Parent’s Manual.

Parents Plus Children’s Programme coming to Termon

Have you children aged between 6 and 11 years? Would you like the opportunity to be involved in a parenting programme which would help you to build your child’s confidence, encourage their learning, establish rules and boundaries and help your child to keep them, manage misbehaviour and encourage positive behaviour? Termon National School have very kindly offered us space to run the programme which is open to all families – those in the school and those happy to travel to Termon. So here is your chance:-

Here is the link to sign up on line:-

You can also phone email or phone 087 1736667 for further information and to ask for a booking form. Places are limited so book yours early.

Parents Plus Early Years programme coming to Letterkenny

Have you children aged 1 – 6 years? Would you like the opportunity to do a parenting programme, meet other parents, explore the challenge and develop new skills? Well here is your chance:-

And here is the link to sign up on line:-

Or phone 087 1736667 or email and ask for a booking form.

Spraoi agus Spórt Fashion Show

Please support our Fashion Show this Friday 9th March in the Strand Hotel, Ballyliffen.

Doors open at 7.30pm, show at 8pm.

See the new Spring/Summer collection from Deirdre’s at the Diamond, Global Fashions, Bernie Murphy Textile Designer, Mark2 Menswear, Fadó, The Heel Bar and Inishowen Co-Op.

Tickets are available from the office, Deirdre’s at the Diamond, Global Fashions and Fadó priced at 10 euro for adults and 5 euro for children.

This is a very important fundraiser for Spraoi agus Spórt and your support is requested.

Many thanks

The Spraoi agus Spórt team.