Pregnant women, unborn children, babies and toddlers

Safeguarding and protecting unborn children, babies and toddlers

Pregnancy and the first two years of a child's life are extremely important stages in their development. Their physical, emotional and psychological development and critically, the development of relationships with their carers, are all shaped by their experiences. Research is increasingly demonstrating how their early childhood development impacts on their cognitive and emotional development at school, through adolescence and into later life.

What should I do if I have concerns about an unborn child, baby or toddler?

The unborn child, babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to neglect and abuse and cannot speak for themselves. Serious Case Reviews have consistently illustrated the serious abuse and neglect experienced by babies and toddlers. Any concerns must be taken seriously and acted upon immediately.

If you are concerned about an unborn child, baby or toddler you can find more information in the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Procedures.

Always discuss your concerns with the senior person in your organisation who is responsible for safeguarding and child protection.

If you are a young person, parent or carer, you can contact Children's Social Care to discuss your concerns.

Assessment Tool 

In Derby the Multi-Agency Protocol for Pre-birth Assessments and Interventions has been developed to help support practitioners to effectively work with families where there is a unborn baby, baby or toddler.‌

This protocol has been developed to support practitioners in their decision making and assessment processes when working with a pregnant woman, her partner and family.


Practice Guidance on Bruising in Babies and Children 

Practice guidance on bruising in babies and children is for all practitioners who work with children and families to assist staff to understand the importance of bruising in infants as an indicator of physical abuse and to clarify arrangements in relation to the investigation of bruising in children.

A new animation film, Bruising on Babies, developed by a multi-agency partnership group in Nottinghamshire provides advice to practitioners about seeking an explanation from the babies carers and what action to take if no explanation is provided or an unlikely or inadequate explanation is given. This should be viewed in conjunction with the practice guidance on bruising in babies and children.

Guidance on Managing Babies with suspected Birth Marks, including Mongolian Blue Spots

Guidance on managing babies with suspected birth marks, including Mongolian Blue Spots is for all health practitioners working with babies to ensure that bruising is not overlooked and to reduce the number of inappropriate referrals. 

Guidance to Support Safe Sleeping Practices in Babies and Infants

Guidance to Support Safe Sleeping Practices in Babies and Infants has been developed to help reduce the death rate of babies and toddlers by promoting safe sleeping practices.

Prevention of Non-Accidental Head Injury in Infancy Guidance

This Prevention of Non-Accidental Head Injury in Infancy Guidance  has been developed to help reduce to the incidence of shaken baby syndrome.

Safeguarding Children from Dangerous Dogs Guidance 

The Safeguarding Children from Dangerous Dogs Guidance has been developed to help practitioner's work with families to help prevent dog bites and attacks.

DDSCP Working with Babies and Pre School Children

This DSCB Working with Babies and Pre School Children was written following a review of local cases to highlight good practice points for all practitioners working with babies and pre school children

Research by the NSPCC sets out the evidence to examine:

  • the causes and consequences of infant abuse and neglect
  • and effective and promising interventions during pregnancy and the baby’s first year.

The report includes new analysis into the number of babies under 1 year who are affected by parental substance misuse, mental illness and domestic abuse which are all important risk factors for abuse and neglect.

Resources for parents 

The following resources have been developed to support parents:

Shaking your baby is just not the deal - this leaflet is designed to be printed out for parents to help them avoid shaking their baby

Shaking your baby is just not the deal - downloadable video clip. This gives parents and carers practical tips about how to respond when their baby cries for long periods of time, doesn't sleep or settle.