The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted risks posed to babies, with nationally a significant rise in reports of children who suffered non-accidental injuries (NAIs). Norfolk itself has considered several Rapid Reviews on babies since March 2020 and published Serious Case Reviews on pre-verbal/non-mobile babies in the last two years.
The Protecting Babies strategy aims to challenge how we have, as a system, been protecting unborn and infants, help us understand if risks are exacerbated due to both lockdown and the potential long-term effects of the pandemic and look at the systemic actions we need to take to address and resolve these.
The questions we need to ask ourselves:
- Are we predicting risk and intervening early enough?
- Do we understand and are we responding to risks posed by COVID?
- Are our policies still effective?
- Are we, as a wider system, aware of and discussing at every contact the risk to babies of stressors within the family?
The strategy has four themes or workstreams:
1. Preventing Non Accidental Injuries: Building on a trauma informed approach, we will support staff to have safe and challenging conversations with families and each other to ensure practice is baby focused and risk sensible. There will be specific focus on: respectful scepticism (“thinking the unthinkable”); professional challenge and deference; and giving voice to the baby’s lived experience of care.
2. Unborn babies: We will develop practice to better safeguard unborn children and address risks posed by concealed or denied pregnancy. The definition of neglect incorporates risks posed in utero and we will have transparent and challenging conversations with parents and each other to address reasons why a pregnancy may be concealed/denied, including the impact that this could have on unborn children.
3. Safer Sleeping: We will provide the training, tools and resources to families and staff from across the partnership to ensure that safer sleeping messages are delivered to and understood by families with new born babies.
4. All Babies Cry: We will provide training, tools and resources to families and staff from across the partnership to ensure that all professionals and the wider community are aware of how to support parents who experience increased stress and anxiety with clear communications under the banner of ‘All Babies Cry’.
Protecting Babies Strategy
All Babies Cry
- Click here to visit the Just One Norfolk website for more information on the All Babies Cry Campaign.
- Click here to visit the Just One Norfolk website for more information on Safer Sleeping.
- NCC Safer sleeping advice for parents and carers of young babies (including new video – June 2018)
- Me, You and Baby Too is an online programme designed to help expectant and new parents cope better with the relationship changes they may experience when a baby arrives. There is also an accompanying professional guide.
- Parent’s Emotional Health Advice & Support – Emotional health shouldn’t only be focused around children and young people – visit Just One Norfolk today for advice and support on parental wellbeing.
For any families needing help and advice with their baby, they can call 0300 300 0123, text 07520 631 590 or visit JustOneNorfolk.nhs.uk.