We read with interest the recent communication on making "Healthy child contests" more
objective(1). Healthy child contests are the most attractive activities organized' by many Non Governmental Organizations all over the country. Over the last twenty years we h1we participated in several healthy baby contests as judges. A standard proforma has been used by us in the field, over these years, to introduce objectivity in the contest and at
the same time to educate the parents about the child rearing practices.
The child is assesed on 10 different parameters, namely, weight,' developmental milestones,
feeding practice, immunization, systemic illness, malformation, deficiency states, maternal knowledge for treatment of diarrhea, fever, etc., family planning and looks.
The main highlights of the proforma* are:
In most healthy baby contest the children are aged between 0-2 years and we find it convenient to divide them into three groups because of obvious differences in child rearing practices: (a) 0-6 mo;
(b) 6-12 mo; (c) ]2-24 months.
A special emphasis is placed on feeding practices. Due importance is given for preventable health problems with Iesser emphasis on non preventable health problems.
Mother's knowledge regarding management of common childhood problems like, fever and diarrhea as well as the family planning methods adopted by parents are given importance in the evaluation.
In each category appropriate points are
given based on the proforma and totalling is done.
At the end of each session we make it a point to address the mothers regarding the criteria on which babies are assessed and briefly discuss about various child rearing practices.
This will not only act as health educative session but also the transparency and objectivity of assessment are kept before the mothers.
During each contest every child is given some appreciation so that no mother is disappointed, for, "there is only one beautiful child in this world and every mother has him or her!".
Department of Pediatrics, Medical College,