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Evaluation of Coping with Crying: Final report

In 2012, the NSPCC began piloting the delivery of the Coping with Crying programme, a psycho-educational film designed to help all expectant and new parents cope with their babies crying, and to reduce the incidence of non-accidental head injuries (NAHI) in infants in the UK.

During the pilot, the film was shown to over 41,000 parents in hospitals after birth, to over 11,000 parents during the antenatal period, and to over 5,000 parents during the postnatal period after discharge from hospital. The pilot was evaluated using a mixedmethod, quasi-experimental evaluation design.

The key findings include the following:

  • The highest proportion of parents (as a percentage of parents giving birth) either saw the film when it was shown at routine clinic appointments or in the hospital after having given birth.
  • Nearly all parents remembered seeing the film up to six months after they had watched it.
  • Watching the film in hospital after birth led to a small improvement in parents’ reported knowledge about infant crying and the dangers of shaking their baby, as well as their use of new coping strategies.
  • Watching the film in the antenatal or postnatal period, after discharge from hospital, also had a positive impact on parents and it was much greater than in hospitals. When compared with parents who had not watched the film, or had watched it in hospital, parents had better knowledge about the impact of shaking their baby. They were more likely to agree that it was normal for babies to cry, and to pass the baby to someone else to give themselves a break. They felt more confident asking for help, and were more likely to talk to others about the frustrations they experienced when their baby was crying. They were also more inclined to put the baby down in a safe place when they were stressed and finding it hard to cope, and to use the recommended soothing strategies more often.
  • Evidence from the qualitative evaluation and the quantitative survey encouragingly suggests that, during times of stress, parents were reacting in a positive way to their infant crying and were seeking help when it was necessary.
  • The evaluation did not detect an impact on rates of injuries as a result of watching the film