Parents educated on risks of shaking babies

Ground breaking: Royal Preston Hospital was one of the units taking part in the scheme
Ground breaking: Royal Preston Hospital was one of the units taking part in the scheme
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More than 1,000 parents have been educated on the risks of shaking babies through a pilot scheme run by the NSPCC at birthing units in Lancashire.

The Preventing Non Accidental Head Injury (NAHI) programme has been running at Lancashire Teaching Hospital units in Preston and Chorley and is aimed at keeping babies safe.

It focuses on the risks of shaking babies and gives practical coping strategies for the pressures of parenthood.

Midwives and health professionals show new parents a short film before they are discharged from hospital.

The film helps mums and dads understand the dangers of shaking a baby, how to respond to their baby crying, and how to cope with feeling stressed and tired. The midwives talk to the parents about the film and answer questions.

Since the programme was introduced in Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley Birthing Unit, around 1,100 local parents have been shown the powerful film to help them care for a crying baby, and reduce the risk of them becoming stressed and harming their baby.

The service is running across 24 hospitals or birthing units across the UK.

Tracy Buckley, NSPCC service centre manager in Preston said: “Our evaluation results suggest that the film is helping to keep babies safe.

“Ninety-nine per cent of parents from across the UK who took part in our evaluation remembered the film at least six months after watching it. Eighty-two per cent said they used advice from the film when caring for their baby, and the rate of reported injuries amongst babies with feeding, sleeping or crying difficulties was lower if their parents had seen the film.

“This is a ground-breaking new programme based on the best international evidence. It is a relatively simple and low cost intervention, and our evaluation shows that it is helping parents to manage the pressures of new parenthood and soothe their baby. It is critically important that we support families to reduce stress during the significant life changes that accompany the birth of a new baby.”

Susan Sherlock, head of midwifery at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We fully understand that caring for a new-born baby can be extremely stressful, particularly for new parents and we are committed to providing the highest quality support to mothers and their partners.

“By working in partnership with the NSPCC to educate parents on how to handle their baby and cope with stress we aim to help them keep their baby safe.”