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Winter heating and health
With Winter with us it is important to think about health and heating, and activities for kids when it is too cold or wet to get outside.

This section is broken down into the following sub-categories:

Winter heating and health

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Winter heating and health

During winter with us it is important to think about health and heating, and activities for kids when it is too cold or wet to get outside.


Keeping your home warm is important for your childs health, with research showing homes which are poorly insulated having higher rates of respiratory disease in children. The Asthma Foundation produces publications on respiratory disease. They state that you are welcome to read and print the publications from their site. Please acknowledge

On the asthma foundation website for New Zealand their advice for winter and temperature changes for people with asthma is to:

Try to keep your home at an even temperature.

It may help to use a thermostatically-controlled heater in the bedroom at night to keep the temperature around 20 degrees C.

They also provide the following information on healthy homes  

quote: Top-up funding for Warm Up New Zealand subsidies offered through WCC If you have a Community Services Card, live in Wellington and are interested in further reducing the cost of any insulation that you are having partially funded by Warm Up New Zealand subsidies, this may apply to you. The Wellington City Council has some extra funding available and is particularly keen to assist seniors or families living in cold, damp houses. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please phone 04 237 5202 or email

Our homes and our health ? what's the connection?

EECA (the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) provides a range of subsidies, other support and advice for homeowners wanting to keep warmer, drier and healthier through adding insulation to their homes, cleaning their heating devices and a range of other energy efficiency measures including solar water heating. During the colder times of the year dampness, draughts and a lack of insulation make our homes more difficult to heat.

The World Health Organisation recommends that houses are heated to a minimum of 18 degrees celsius to provide a healthy and comfortable environment. Indoor temperatures below 16 degrees increase the risk of respiratory disease.

Insulation study The University of Otago Wellington School of Medicine's Healthy Homes study demonstrated a significant improvement in the self-reported respiratory health of families whose homes were retrofitted with a standard package of ceiling insulation, draught-stopping around windows and doors, under-floor insulation and a polyethylene covering over the ground under the house. Once the houses were insulated:

they were drier and warmer

people reported that their houses felt significantly warmer

people in the insulated group used 23 percent less power than the control group ? saving money as well as energy

there was a significant improvement in the self-reported health of all the occupants 

there was a significant decrease in time off school for children and time off work for adults

there was a significant and positive difference in the number of visits to hospitals made by adults between the insulation and control group


This is a summary of services offered from some popular Health sites.

New Zealand Health Information service has a large list of health-related links

MedSafe Information of medicines and medical devices in NZ

Starship Childrens Health Starship has a large web site with child health information. Look on the family information service and kidshealth pgs on

Family Information Service can help you to access information on your child's medical condition or disability and, if you wish, put you in touch with parent and community support groups. kidshealth - an online resource if you want to search independently for child and youth health information kidshealth is a joint initiative between the Starship Foundation and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand.

The site includes important information such as keeping children well, medical conditions and helping families through many health complexities such as disability, education and accessing welfare assistance.

Plunket is New Zealands leading provider of well child and family health services. It also offers Plunketline a toll free telephone support service staffed by specially trained Plunket nurses is available to respond to caregivers concerns on child health and parenting. Callers are referred to specialist services where applicable. Staffed 7 days a week. You can call PlunketLine on 0800 933 922.

Entertainment is a directory for NZ parents allowing them easy access to web sites related to pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. To find information about entertainment on BabyWebNZ click on Baby Friendly NZ or go to the left hand column and click on the area of NZ you want to find. This will give you a list of pregnancy health practices, educational and exercise classes. Baby friendly cafes, parents rooms, childcare and entertainment throughout New Zealand.

This site will connect you to all the public libraries in Aotearoa New Zealand that have websites. Most of them have a kid's section on what is happening for children and teens at the library.

Community Net Aotearoa provides access to relevant, quality information in the community sector. Via links go into the child and youth to find groups such as Boys Brigade in NZ, Kids 4 Drama, Outward Bound

NZSearch is a great directory, designed to provide the most useful searchable directory of web sites maintained by NZ organisations and New Zealanders. Go into kids stuff you will find 82 links. You can also use NZ search to go into city and regional councils or see To find out about places to visit in a region or local area you can use the services of visitor information centres. Local and regional councils generally run these. You can find all sorts of helpful tourist information including places to stay, camp sites, information on beaches and ski fields, entertainment and events.

The National Directory lists programmes, services and resources for families available throughout New Zealand. The National Directory is a service provided by Family and Community Services, part of the Ministry of Social Development. On the directory search type in your location, on service type parent/caregiver then on keyword children is a good one to start a search with.

Article by Helen  (Midwife and Childbirth Educator) BabyWebNZ is a web site linking you to other web sites related to pregnancy, childbirth, baby care and parenting. BabyWebNZ has no control over the content or accuracy of these web sites.

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