County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) is working with national charity Best Beginnings to support an award-winning mobile phone app for parents and parents-to-be.
The Baby Buddy app is free of charge and has been created by Best Beginnings in conjunction with mums, midwives and doctors with the aim of giving babies the best start in life and supporting the health and wellbeing of parents.
The innovative application was brought to the attention of officers at CDDFRS by Best Beginnings regional facilitator Fiona Dry.
Fiona has a close connection with CDDFRS through her husband Stephen Dry, a firefighter based at Darlington Fire Station. Fiona approached the service’s community safety team for help to publicise the availability of the application to fire services around the country.
Rob Cherrie, station manager and ‘Safe and Well-being’ project lead, explained: “At the time when Fiona told us about the app, as a service, we were preparing to launch our new safe and wellbeing visits. These visits replaced our successful programme of home fire safety checks on February 15 and are designed to enhance the fire service role in helping to keep people from all sections of the community safe and well.
“We suggested that details of the Baby Buddy app could be added to the new forms and literature that we were preparing about safe and well visits. These documents, are left in homes after every visit we make and include information, advice and links to partner organisations and health providers for all sections of the community about keeping safe and well.
“As service we visit thousands of homes each year as part of our safe and wellbeing visits and we also meet people every day at planned events and incidents. The app is an excellent source of information for new and expecting parents and we are happy to be working with best beginnings to inform people about it.”
Alison Baum, CEO of Best Beginnings, said: “We are absolutely delighted and extremely proud to be recognised as a valued resource supporting this outstanding initiative by CDDFRS.
“I set up Best Beginnings to reduce child health inequalities across the UK. Best Beginnings created our free award-winning Department of Health endorsed Baby Buddy app to enable parents of all ages and backgrounds to look after their own mental and physical health and to maximise the chances of their children having a healthy and happy start. We thank CDDFRS for helping to bring this valuable resource to the attention of the local community.”
The Baby Buddy app can be downloaded free from Google Play and the App Store and there is also a web version: www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/baby-buddy
Since launching in November 2014 the app has been downloaded more than 55,000 people and has been a winner at the AXA PPP Health Tech Awards 2015 and the Royal College of Midwives Midwifery Awards 2016.
The app, which is regularly updated with the latest midwifery and medical advice is endorsed by the Department of Health and a number of national health providers. Mums who use the app can access information and advice about a range of parenting matters and can also customise the app to fit their personal circumstances before and after the birth of their baby.
The charity is currently planning a dad’s version of the app and any dad who would like to contribute to this can contact the charity via email [email protected]
• Pictured (above): Fiona Dry (left) and Helen Hunter visiting County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service headquarters with chief fire officer Stuart Errington (centre) station manager Rob Cherrie (left) and community safety manager Andrew Allison (right).