HSE PosterThere has been a large increase in general viral infections among children and young people this winter.
There have also been recent concerns about a rare bacterial infection. This infection is iGAS (an invasive Group A Streptococcal infection). It is also known as Group A Strep.

Significant increase in viral infections

We have seen a significant increase in the usual winter viral infections. This includes an increase in flu. This is because children are mixing together more. In previous years social contact was much reduced. This in turn reduced the rates of routine infection.

Typical symptoms of viral infections
Symptoms of viral infections typically include:

  • runny or blocked nose
  • mild fever
  • cough
  • lethargy (tiredness)

Many children with viral infections also have a generalised rash.
Most children with viral infections can safely be cared for at home.
More information can be found at https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/colds-coughs-children/

Group A Strep and related bacterial infections

There have been cases of serious bacterial infections, specifically Group A Strep.
Severe infection is rare. Group A Strep more commonly causes infections such as:

  • tonsillitis
  • scarlet fever
  • skin infections

Ireland has seen cases of more serious infections recently. But so far the rate of serious infection is below the level seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Information about managing illnesses of concern will continue to be updated on hse.ie over the coming days and weeks.

Important messages for families and children regarding any infections:
1) The most important measure is to stay home if you are unwell.

Many children might have a runny nose or a slight cough in winter season. However, if a child is feeling unwell they should be at home. For example, they may have:

  • fever
  • cough, and
  • sore throat

They should stay at home until those symptoms have finished.
See https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/colds-coughs-children/
Children with symptoms are more likely to spread infections. For example, they may spread flu or bacterial infections. Staying home when unwell will help prevent spread to other children, families and staff.

2) Infection, prevention and control measures

  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Keep hands clean

Many of the measures that we all got used to with Covid-19 are still important. Hygiene measures such as these should be encouraged for everyone. These measures help stop the spread of infection.

3) Vaccination

Making sure your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations will help:

- stop your child getting an infection and
- make them less likely to be unwell if they do get an infection

Routine childhood vaccinations protect against many significant viral and bacterial infections.
There is no vaccine against many viral illnesses or Strep A.
More information is available at https://www2.hse.ie/babies-children/vaccines-your-child/

Flu vaccine

The nasal spray flu vaccine is available for children aged 2 to 17 years. It helps protect against severe infection with flu and onward spread.
See https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/flu/childrens-flu-vaccine/
Many adults are also recommended to have the flu vaccine.
More information is available at

Vaccination for Covid-19 is still available. Visit

The most important ways to prevent the spread of all infections are making sure:

  • anyone unwell stays at home
  • children and adults are up to date with their recommended vaccines, including flu

4. If you are concerned about your child

If you are concerned your child may be unwell, please check hse.ie. There is information on coughs, colds, fever, rashes and symptoms of concern. There is advice on when to contact your GP or go to a hospital emergency department. https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/colds-coughs-children/

Posters for Print & Web:

HSE-MyChild-viruses-childcare-poster-english-print (PDF)

HSE-MyChild-viruses-childcare-poster-english-web (PDF)

HSE-MyChild-viruses-childcare-poster-irish-print (PDF)

HSE-MyChild-viruses-childcare-poster-irish-web (PDF)



29th July 2022

DeniseAs this is Denise Mc Cormilla’s final day as CEO of the National Childhood Network (NCN), we would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about a truly wonderful and inspirational leader. 

Denise, you have provided so much encouragement, inspiration, support and guidance, kindness and compassion to us all.   It is safe to say that you have been a driving force in early childhood from the inception of the Border Counties Childhood Network which is now NCN.  Through all your work you have been integral to the important advances that have been made over the years for children, families and educators whether that is through policy, practice or your commitment to peace and reconciliation across the Island of Ireland.

Your contribution is irreplaceable and your dedication immeasurable.  Thank you for being that force of nature that created so many opportunities for us and the sector.

I can’t believe the time has come that we have to say goodbye, you were not just a CEO but a true leader, friend and mentor and it has been a true privilege to work under your leadership.   What you have done for us and the sector could never be fully measured, thanked enough in words or praised enough.

Even though your professional life is entering a new chapter, your legacy will live on in all the work of NCN, the sector and in every heart you have touched. 

So, on behalf of NCN and from all of us I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts and wish you a happy and healthy retirement.  Say goodbye to tension and hello to the pension!

Thank you, Denise.

NCN staff and board.

As Childhood Services Week 22 approaches (23-28th May), NCN calls on the entire sector to get ready to show case the valuable work carried out in services across Ireland to enhance the lives of children. Whether you provide a preschool, creche, afterschool or childminding service, this dedicated week creates an opportunity for all services to highlight and showcase how the Voice of the Child is heard through the Arts. Providing opportunities for children to draw, paint, manipulate dough or clay, or other open-ended materials, dress up, or enjoy rhymes or stories, sing or dance are all of value.

Have a look at the report from Childhood Services Week 2021- Arts at the Heart, as well as our slide show and see if there are photographs included of children in your service. It hasn’t been possible to highlight all the images shared with us in 2021 but we hope the report and the slideshow will give you a feel for some of the wonderful experiences children of all ages have within a diversity of settings.

Download PDF >> or click on the image below.

childhoodservices report21


Under this tab NCN would like to give you the opportunity to download some free resources

Here is a collaboration between Barnardo's and NCN for newcomers into the Sector and for existing employees

 Barnardos NCN Book

Children and the Arts -                   

                             Child links Children and the Arts                                                                                              

A collaboration between Barnardos and NCN  -  Arts Experiences for Young children

                           Arts Experiences

A List of all the Publications available from NCN

                                      Publications 2 

If you would like to download items from our shop click on the following links:-






 More Free Downloads from NCN

Aoife Daithi      Poster 1 

 Poster 2 Wash your hands      Poster 3 Sneeze    

Poster 5 Adult       Poster 4 Tissues  

More Adventures from Aoife & Daithi

 New Aoife Daithi     Annotation 2020 09 08 141802   Healthy Teeth

Rethinking Outdoor Play in English and Irish               

Outdoor Play              Outdoor Irish

  Lunch Box Infographic English           Lunch Box Infographic Irish      

   Time for Lunch infographic 2                  Time for Lunch infographic Irisha 

Lunch Box Leaflet English

 Leaflet side 1Leaflet Side 2

 Lunch Box LeafLet Irish

Lunch box Irish 1Lunch Box Irish 2




Representatives from a range of early years groups united recently  to prepare a comprehensive submission to the Taoiseach, the  Minister for Finance, all Government Ministers and TD’s calling for increased investment in the Early Years workforce. Facilitated by NCN and  Quality Matters,  representatives from PARCC, National Forum for Community Childcare Services, PEEP, PPPI, PLE, ACP and Montessori Alliance and SIPTU  contributed to the submission. Please click on the following link

Making the case for Investment in the Early Years Workforce

24 January 2017

On the day that Minister Zappone fast-tracks legislation for the Affordable Childcare Scheme, please see the important document below

Representatives from a wide range of stakeholder groups within the childhood sector have welcomed the invitation from the DCYA to meet and discuss concerns and recommendations regarding the current proposals for the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme. The deputation organised by NCN will include representatives involved in the delivery of community and private, sessional and full day-care, urban and rural, small, medium and large services as well as representatives from PLÉ. Those involved have worked together to prepare a collaborative response to the proposed scheme which has been submitted to the DCYA for consideration. The need for comprehensive consultation and negotiation with all types of service provider has been highlighted to the Department in order to ensure the scheme is implemented successfully to the satisfaction of all involved including parents. See the full report on the response to the scheme here.





Response to Affordable Childcare Scheme