The Scottish Government have announced updated guidance for parent and baby groups which increases the number of adults who are allowed to attend, subject to certain conditions.

Following the publication of updated public health advice, groups will now allow up to ten adults to attend groups where all children are under 12 months old. The maximum number will remain at five for groups where children are older than this.

Announcing the updated guidance, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We understand the vital importance of parent and baby groups, especially for supporting mental health and wellbeing in the early months after having a baby. That is particularly important just now, as we know the pandemic has the potential to increase stress and anxiety for new mothers.

“We are also, however, trying to keep an extremely infectious virus from spreading and protect the health of families and the wider community.

“I hope that this updated guidance will help us to strike the correct balance. No one wants restrictions in place a moment longer than needed, but until then we are all having to accept circumstances that we would not normally ever want to.”

SNP MSP for Cunninghame South Ruth Maguire said: “I’m aware of how important parent and baby groups are for early development and social skills of children in addition to the support network it can offer for new parents.

“I hope that the new guidance offers a suitable compromise for parents who have expressed concerns about lack of spaces at parent and baby groups which allows the resumption of an important service that benefits parents and their new babies while also taking the current public health crisis into account.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19); organised activities for children

Subject to content of the guidance and the following conditions being met, the maximum number of adults who can attend has been set to 10:

  • where all children in the group are less than 12 months old
  • where the space allows for appropriate physical distancing
  • where face coverings must be worn at all times by anyone, except when sitting down
  • where the service provider meets all the health and safety criteria and can comply with any specific conditions set out by the venue provider at all times
  • where the duration of the activity is kept to a minimum and other blended delivery options are considered including use of outside space and digital delivery
  • where group attendees and facilitators, as far as possible, are kept consistent and do not change regularly