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Coping with Crying

Helping parents to keep calm and soothe their baby

Looking after a crying baby is challenging for all families, but for some it can be particularly difficult.

In extreme cases, parents may become angry and harm their baby. When babies are shaken, thrown or handled very roughly this can result in non-accidental head injuries, which are the leading cause of death and long-term disability in babies who are maltreated.

Our short film, Coping with Crying, aims to help prevent non-accidental head injuries by teaching parents how to cope with the stress they may feel when their baby cries.

Over 30,000 parents have seen the film since 2012 and we aim to reach around 50,000 parents between May 2014 and September 2015.

Helping parents cope when their baby cries

Excessive crying is often given as a reason when parents harm their babies. In one study, over 50% of mothers felt like harming their child at one point when they were frustrated due to crying.

In the Coping with Crying film, parents share their experiences of looking after a new baby and give practical tips for new parents.

Experts provide advice about infant crying and the risks from non-accidental head injuries.

We work with midwives, maternity support workers, health visitors, children's centre workers and other professionals to show the film to parents.

After watching the film, parents:

  • discuss and answer questions
  • receive a leaflet with further information.

Working together to protect babies

Coping with Crying is an innovative programme based on the best international evidence. A similar programme in the USA led to a 47% drop in non-accidental head injuries to babies.

The NSPCC developed the film with the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and other experts.

We have worked with a number of hospitals across the UK to show the film to new parents over the last two years. We are now extending the programme to test showing the film to parents at other times and places during pregnancy and the first few weeks after a baby is born.

We hope to help parents to cope with the transition to parenthood and reduce the number of children suffering non-accidental head injuries in the UK. We have already seen very positive results from some of the hospitals who have been showing the film to parents.

Our work with children under one

Service information for parents:

Find out more about the services available in your area

Information for professionals:

Coping with Crying service information

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