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.Newly published researchNSPCC researchA selection of published academic researchResearch centresRelated resources
Newly published researchFebruary 2012
Multiple risk factors in young children’s development (PDF)
Institute of Education, 2012The 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.October 2011
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., Risdon, R. A., Ashworth, M. T., Malone, M. and Sebire, N. J.
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, Sidebotham, Peter, Ellis. Catherine, Bailey, Sue, and Belderson, Pippa
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.
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, SusanA 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.All babies count: prevention and protection for vulnerable babies: a review of the evidence
Cuthbert, Chris, Rayns, Gwynne and Stanley, Kate, 2011An NSPCC report looking at the evidence for making children aged under one year a priority in child protection and the importance of early intervention.How the NSPCC protects babies
NSPCC, 2011Second 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
Manning, Victoria, 2011A 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
NSPCC, 2011A 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
Bunting, Lisa, 2011An 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.
A selection of published academic researchIntimate partner violence, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder as additional predictors of low birth weight infants among low-income mothers
Rosen, Daniel, and Sang, Julia S., and Tolman, Richard M., and Mallinger, Gayl
Journal of Interpersonal Violence 22(10), October 2007: 1305-1314Compares groups of women who did and did not give birth to low birth weight infants on demographic, material deprivation, risk behaviour, mental health, and intimate partner violence factors. The prevalence of domestic violence was more than twice as high for women with low birth weight infants as those women who had a normal weight infant. When considering additional risk factors, including food insufficiency, substance dependence, and depression and/or posttraumatic stress disorder, intimate partner violence remained a significant indicator, but it was most strongly associated with low birth weight among women also experiencing depression and/or posttraumatic stress disorder
Freely view abstract or access full text by subscription: Journal of Interpersonal Violence 22(10): 1305-1314Trauma symptoms among infants exposed to intimate partner violence
Bogat, G. Anne, and DeJonghe, Erika, and Levendosky, Alytia A., and Davidson,
William S., and Eye, Alexander von
Child Abuse and Neglect 30(2), February 2006: 109-125Study to see if infants suffer trauma symptoms after witnessing domestic violence. 48 mothers reported the trauma experienced by themselves and their 1 year old infant as a result of witnessing intimate partner violence. Findings showed that infants as young as 1 year can experience trauma symptoms after experiencing domestic violence.
Freely view abstract or access full text by subscription: Child Abuse and Neglect 30(2): 109-125Maternal mental health, substance use, and domestic violence in the year after delivery and subsequent behavior problems in children at age 3 years
Whitaker, Robert C., and Orzol, Sean M., and Kahn, Robert S.
Archives of General Psychiatry, 63 May 2006: 551-560Looks at the cumulative effect of domestic violence, substance abuse and maternal mental health problems on the risk of behaviour problems in young children. Results showed that the prevalence of child behaviour problems increased with the number of problems the mother reported. It suggests that family oriented strategies are needed to prevent child behaviour problems
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.