Shaken babies: Parents to see 'life-saving' film aimed at cutting number of infants injured - or killed - by abuse and ignorance

One in four babies who suffer 'non-accidental head injuries' will die as a result, and most of those who survive suffer disabilities such as cerebral palsy and blindness

A film which could help save infants is to be shown to thousands of new parents across Britain this month in a bid to prevent the violent abuse of crying babies.

Each year nearly 200 babies suffer "non-accidental head injuries" – the leading cause of death and long-term disability in infants who are abused. Medically termed as "abusive head trauma", the injuries are often caused by adults shaking or hitting a baby. One in four children will die as a result of such injuries, and most – between 50 and 80 per cent – of those who survive suffer disabilities such as cerebral palsy and blindness.

But showing new parents a film devised by doctors, midwives and child protection experts can prevent such tragedies, according to a new report by the NSPCC to be released this week.

It presents the results of a two-and-a-half-year pilot programme in which tens of thousands of parents at 24 hospitals and birthing units have been shown a Coping With Crying film aimed at preventing them losing control when faced with screaming infants.

For some families, crying can be a very serious problem which can "disrupt parents' developing bonds with their babies, and in extreme cases, can cause parents to get angry and harm their babies", warns the report.

But a 10-minute DVD, developed by experts at the NSPCC, Warwick Medical School, and Great Ormond Street children's hospital, has changed attitudes for the better and reduced injuries, according to the study. Featuring parents talking about their own experiences, the film prepares people for their baby's crying, provides advice on soothing a baby and managing their own stress, and warns of the dangers of shaking a baby – which can rupture blood vessels in the brain and result in blindness, deafness, fits, learning difficulties, brain damage and death.

The report states: "Parents with 'difficult' babies (those with feeding, sleeping or crying difficulties), reported a lower rate of injuries that had resulted in their baby seeing a doctor or nurse, when compared with parents who hadn't watched the film."

It adds: "Although this finding relates to all injuries rather than just non-accidental ones, it indicates that babies of parents who watched the DVD were indeed safer."

Parents who had viewed the DVD were also more likely to agree that it is all right to leave your baby to cry for a few minutes when you are stressed and finding it hard to cope.

Those who watched the film were more than three times less likely to report an injury to their child.

Sally Hogg, one of the authors of the report, told The Independent on Sunday: "Two per cent of those who had seen the DVD said that their baby had had an injury compared to 7 per cent of the comparison group." She added: "Those who had watched the film used more soothing techniques and were more likely to take action to calm down if they felt themselves getting frustrated."

And Cathy Warwick, head of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "We're delighted to see such promising results … Everyone looking after a baby needs to know shaking can have very serious consequences."

The film is being offered to parents during pregnancy or after they have returned home with a new baby, in 19 areas of the country. It is set to be available nationwide next year.

Mae Pleydell-Pearce and her son, Ellis Mae Pleydell-Pearce and her son, Ellis Cast study: 'Ellis's injuries were consistent with being in a 70mph car crash'

Mae Pleydell-Pearce loved her "beautiful" son, Ellis. But her world changed for ever when he was just three months old: her ex-partner shook her baby boy so violently that he stopped breathing.

"Both of Ellis's eyes haemorrhaged, he had three broken ribs, a broken leg, and his brain was severely damaged. His brain was torn, and the damage caused it to swell. Ellis was on a life-support machine for six days." Her son was left permanently brain damaged and his injuries were "consistent with being in a 70mph car crash unrestrained, or being dropped from a seventh-storey window on to his head. "Ellis's world was now one of darkness, pain and the inability to move."

He spent the rest of his short life in and out of hospital and died when he was just 14 years old. "As I sat cradling him I knew that it had taken Ellis 13 years 11 months and 13 days to die, but that now he was free."

News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    JavaScript Developer (C++ / C# / HTML, Java Angular.js) London

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A world leading business intellig...

    Application Support Analyst-(UNIX, Linux, Financial Services)

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst-(UNIX...

    Application Support Analyst - SQL, UNIX, Linux

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support Analyst - SQL...

    Application Support - FIX protocol, UNIX, SQL, Windows, OMS

    £40000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Application Support - FIX protoco...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition