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  1. Christine Alsford

Have you heard of teeth varnishing?

Thousands of school children are having their teeth painted with fluoride as part of a scheme to tackle poor dental health.

In total 17 schools and nurseries are taking part in Portsmouth - where rates of decay are well above the national average.

Half of all children have damaged teeth by the time they start school - and three quarters of the decay goes untreated.

But the fluoride varnish treatment isn't without its opponents. Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports from an infants school where dozens of children have been treated for the first time.


New vaccine to give 'greater protection'

Doctors at Southampton General Hospital are trialling a new four-part vaccine to protect children from the flu virus. It is hoped the new vaccine will be more effective in combatting the illness.

"The quadrivalent influenza vaccine should give greater protection against the circulating flu viruses compared to the three strain version we have used in the past, but we need the help of parents to ensure we recruit quickly and complete the study vaccines before the main flu season starts."

– Dr Saul Faust, a specialist in children's immunology and infectious diseases

New flu vaccine trials get underway

Southampton General Hospital Credit: Meridian

A 'four-part' vaccine that could offer children much greater protection against flu viruses is being trialled at Southampton General Hospital.

Doctors are investigating the effectiveness of the quadrivalent influenza vaccine - the first to cover four different types of flu virus.

Annual Dreamflight ready to take off

Excitement builds as children head to their Dreamflight adventure Credit: John Ryall

Young people who are taking part in this year's annual Dreamflight are at Heathrow Airport for their flight. The yearly Dreamflight event is the biggest trip of its type in the world to take disabled and seriously ill children on holiday to Florida theme parks in the USA.

This year's theme is inspiring the next generation, so some of the UK's London 2012 Paralympians are on hand to wave the Dreamflight flyers off on their adventure.

Dreamflight youngsters meet Paralympians Credit: John Ryall


Police appeal after car hits 3 children

Thames Valley Police are appealing for witnesses after a car mounted the pavement in Oxford and hit three children.

At 7:30pm a grey Ford Focus was negotiating the Heyford Hill roundabout near Sainsburys where it mounted the pavement and hit 5 people.

A three-year-old boy and two girls aged five and nine, and their father have been taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital to be checked over.

Their injuries are understood to not be life threatening. Another pedestrian was also hit by the car but was not injured in the incident.

The male driver of the Ford Focus has been arrested and is helping police with their inquiries.

Staying safe in the sun

Make sure your sunglasses are up to the job Credit: Medway Council

Medway Council’s Trading Standards team is conducting inspections on children’s sunglasses to make sure that they offer proper protection from damaging UV light that can cause irreversible damage to their young eyes.

They are also sampling and submitting for test examples of the budget sun lotions to ensure that they offer the purported sun protection factor.

These products are importantly designed to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.

Medway’s Director of Public Health Dr Alison Barnett says “Malignant melanomas are the least common but most dangerous type of skin cancer, with nearly 12,000 new cases every year in the UK. The incidence has been rising rapidly during the last 20 years.

“Babies and children’s skin is much more sensitive than adult skin and needs to have extra care taken of it. Make sure children are covered up and wear sun hats and long-sleeved clothes and have a high-factor sunscreen on them before they go outside.

Trading Standards officers would like to know if local residents have any particular concerns about any of these products and are asking for them to report the matter to the Consumer Helpline on 08454 040506.

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