Voice of the Infant: best practice guidelines and infant pledge

Co-produced by a short-life working group, on behalf of the Infant Mental Health Implementation and Advisory Group, which is part of the Scottish Government’s Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Programme Board.

Good Practice Checklist

Is your service succeeding in facilitating babies' and very young children's participation by eliciting and supporting infant voice?

The traffic light (R, A, G) checklist on this page and the next can be used to help you evaluate and improve your infant voice practice.

Area of Practice Not at all
Very much
  • Is the setting baby-friendly in UNICEF9 terms?
  • Is the environment free of distractions and suitably decorated for infants?
  • Is it safe for the infant to move around?
  • Is the infant physically comfortable?
  • Is the lighting, sound and other stimuli in the environment at a level to prevent infants feeling overstimulated?
  • Is there a quiet space for infants who need to sleep or rest?
  • Are there age-appropriate toys available in waiting areas and rooms?
  • Is there sufficient time and mental space provided to ensure that the infant's communications are listened to and reflected upon?
  • Do staff routinely set the scene, giving information about how infants communicate, encouraging a space for the infant and responses to their communications?
  • Do staff take note of the infant's silence?
  • Are efforts made to capture observations and consider what is being communicated?
  • Are staff mindful that a caregiver's view may be different to the infant's?
  • Do staff put the infant's communications into words to interpret what they may be experiencing?
  • Do staff comment on the infant's emotional state?
  • Are staff mindful of how they communicate with infants through their facial expressions, word choice, tone of voice, body language and emotions during interactions?
  • Do staff acknowledge what they are seeing and hearing to the infant and their caregiver?
  • Do staff respond directly to the infant?
  • Do staff act on the infant's feedback about the environment and approach?
  • Are the number of staff present considered in relation to ensuring infants are listened to but not overwhelmed?
  • When making decisions about care and intervention, do staff ensure that the infant's perspective is taken into account?
  • Do staff ensure that the experience of infants is reflected in service design and delivery?
  • Is there a mechanism for recording what actions are taken based on what we learn about the infant's views?
  • Does your service have a Participation Officer, Infant Voice Champion or someone appointed to represent the views of babies and very young children?
  • Is feedback given to staff/parents or carers on how the infant's views have been acted on?
  • Is feedback given to the infant?


Email: pimh@gov.scot

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