Research on children under one
Statistics show that children under the age of one experience particularly high levels of abuse. On average, the under ones are eight times more likely to be killed than older children, and nearly half of all serious case reviews are in relation to babies under one year.
Abuse and neglect during the first year of a child's life can have serious and long-term effects.NSPCC researchRecent researchResearch centresRelated resources
All babies count: prevention and protection for vulnerable babies: a review of the evidence
Cuthbert, Chris, Rayns, Gwynne and Stanley, Kate
An NSPCC report looking at the evidence for making children aged under one year a priority in child protection and the importance of early intervention.
All babies count: spotlight on drugs and alcohol (PDF).
Cuthbert, Chris, Rayns, Gwynne and Dawe, Sharon
Focuses on the impact of parental misuse of drugs and alcohol on babies. Looks at available research on the subject, before examining the evidence around various interventions. Outlines ways policy could be changed to improve the situation. The first of a series of NSPCC Spotlight reports looking at different issues around pregnancy and babyhood.
What the millennium cohort study can tell us about the challenges new parents face: statistics for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (PDF, 331KB)
Bunting, Lisa and Galloway, Susan
A brief overview of what the longitudinal social survey the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) and other comparable data sources can tell us about the attitudes, experiences and challenges faced by new parents in each of the four countries of the UK.
How the NSPCC protects babies
Second report in the NSPCC's Helpline highlights series looking at the key concerns people who call the NSPCC have about babies. Reviews why people call, who else people would contact, they types of calls received, what people talk about and how the NSPCC respond. Highlights substance misuse, domestic abuse and mental health issues as risk factors. Includes case studies.
Estimates of the number of infants (under the age of one year) living with substance misusing parents.
A report describing research to find the number of children under the age of one in the UK who live with a parent affected by either one or a combination of substance misuse, domestic abuse, mental health problems. The report explains how the figures were calculated through analysis of the National Psychiatric Morbidity Survey and discusses the findings.
An analysis of serious case reviews concerning children under one.
A brief analysis of 130 serious case reviews in England and Wales concerning children aged under one year and the factors of domestic abuse, substance misuse or mental health issues.
The prevalence of infant abuse and maltreatment related deaths in the UK.
An NSPCC briefing looking at UK government statistics, child protection statistics, child death reviews, abuse related infant deaths, serious case reviews and research to summarise what is known about abuse associated fatalities in children aged under one year.
May 2013Bed sharing when parents do not smoke: is there a risk of SIDS? An individual level analysis of five major case–control studies.
Carpenter, Robert et alExamines the risk of risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) from co-sleeping in cases where the child was breast fed and the parents did not smoke. Analyses data from five research studies in the UK, Europe and Australasia. Concludes that SIDS rates could be substantially reduced if parents avoided bed sharing
March 2013Conception to age 2: the age of opportunity
Department for Education (DfE) and The Wave TrustUnderlines the importance of the first two years of life to a child's development. Argues for a shift in policy emphasis towards a focus on the parent-child relationship. Identifies examples of effective early identification and intervention. Puts forward the economic case for investing in the early years. Concludes with a series of policy recommendations
Depressed fathers’ speech to their 3-month-old infants: a study of cognitive and mentalizing features in paternal speech.
Sethnaa, V. , Murray, L. and Ramchandani, P. G.
Considers the impact of paternal postnatal depression on child development. Studies differences in paternal speech during face-to-face interactions between depressed and non depressed fathers and their 3 month old infants. Finds depressed fathers are more likely to talk about their own experiences than their infants, and are more likely to use negative or critical language. Concludes that further research may improve understanding of children's risk in relation to paternal psychopathology.
Multiple risk factors in young children’s development (PDF).October 2011
Institute of Education, 2012
The Institute of Education, University of London, has published new research about children in the UK growing up in families facing multiple challenges. Findings include: 28 per cent of families with young children (a total of 192,000 children under one) across the UK in 2001 were facing two or more of a possible 10 risks.
Ages of concern: learning lessons from serious case reviews: a thematic report of Ofsted's evaluation of serious case reviews from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2011 (PDF)
Ofsted, 2011Ofsted's analysis of serious case reviews focused on age groups identified as particularly vulnerable to abuse, including the under-ones. The report outlined the lessons learnt from the reviews, using case studies to illustrate its points. Findings were used to put forward recommendations for future work with infants for both practitioners and LSCBs, including: the need for timely pre-birth assessments, the need to assess the parenting capacity of both parents, the need to take into account heightened risk when domestic abuse or substance misuse is present.
Autopsy findings of co-sleeping-associated sudden unexpected deaths in infancy: Relationship between pathological features and asphyxial mode of death
Weber, M. A. et al
Freely view abstract or access full text by subscription: Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, (Early view) 2011The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health published a report analysing over 1,500 paediatric autopsies from 1996 to 2005. The report identified 546 deaths categorised as sudden unexpected deaths in infancy, 314 of which specifically recorded the sleeping arrangements. Of those 314, 174 (55%) were co-sleeping-associated deaths. The report also found that 18% of co-sleeping deaths occurred on a sofa.
Completing the revolution: transforming mental health and tackling poverty (PDF)
Mental Health Working Group
The Centre for Social Justice, 2011The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) published a report looking at mental health services which identified families as a group which is largely neglected by current mental health policy. The report identifies infant mental health services as "the next frontier for early intervention". It argues that ensuring babies have a good start in life is as important a public health issue as physical health problems and other chronic conditions. Recommendations include: training in infant and child development for all who work with children; recognition of maternal mental health as a priority on par with maternal physical health; training for health professionals in identifying signs of depression; and the establishment of a family-centred mental health service where parents are supported and helped with both their and their children's mental health needs.
Suffering in silence: 70,000 reasons why help with postnatal depression has to be better (PDF)
4Children, 20114Children published a report looking at the issue of post-natal depression. "Suffering in Silence" found widespread lack of awareness of the symptoms of post-natal depression, a failure to use the known risk factors as a trigger for early intervention and a lack of practical support for struggling families.
May 2011Child and family practitioners' understanding of child development: lessons learnt from a small sample of serious case reviews (PDF)
Brandon, Marian et al
Department for Education (DfE), 2011The Department for Education published a report looking at how a good knowledge of child development can help in the detection of child abuse and neglect, using six serious case reviews to illustrate its argument (Brandon et al, 2011). Examples relevant to the under ones included: the rarity of bruising in children before they are independently mobile; possible implications of faltering growth; and the importance of looking at emotional development, attachment and the parent-child relationship.
To find more research search the NSPCC Library Online using the keywords "infants" and "research"
Research centresCenter on the Developing Child (Harvard University)Includes the Science of Early Childhood that looks at how early experiences are critical to the development of children's brains and their lifelong health.
Child Study (Yale School of Medicine)Multi-disciplinary research into children's mental health problems and influences on child development.
Warwick Infant and Family Wellbeing Unit (WIFWU) (Warwick Medical School)Researches into supporting parents during pregnancy and the first two years of life in order to promote social, emotional and psychological development of infants.