Would you say you are confident parents?  A new expert cohort has asked this question with some surprising results.

The survey from expert-led online parenting resource Essential Parent has found that British parents lack confidence in many areas of parenting – including life-saving skills such as being able to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on babies or children, recognizing the symptoms of meningitis, feeding newborns, and monitoring the safety of toddlers to teenagers online.

Essential Parent, which is advised by both Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the St John Ambulance and UNICEF UK Baby Friendly, surveyed over 1000 UK parents of children aged 0-18 found that:

  • Less than 8% of parents felt very confident about performing CPR in an emergency;
  • Over 90% weren’t confident about identifying the symptoms of meningitis;
  • 85% didn’t know newborns’ stomachs are only the size of a marble;
  • Over 80% weren’t aware of the link between sleep deprivation and obesity in children;
  • Over 75% didn’t know that blue light emitted from screens disrupt children’s sleep;
  • Over 75% didn’t feel confident in how to keep their child safe online;
  • Less than 25% of parents felt sufficiently confident to recognise or deal with bullying.
  • Nearly 50% of parents have concerns about safe and potentially life-saving vaccinations;
  • Nearly 50% of respondents had concerns about breastfeeding (primarily whether babies are getting enough milk);

“Parents clearly don’t feel confident in their own parenting skills. The knowledge and warm reassurance that used to be passed down from mothers and grandmothers, who were on-hand to offer support in the days of the extended family, has been replaced by advice from many different sources, many of which are contradictory, opinionated and not based on scientific evidence. Parents are hungry for knowledge, which ideally should come from a trusted expert source of evidence based information. We created Essential Parent with exactly this in mind, and have brought together a cohort of the UK’s leading experts and expert organisations including leading paediatricians, GPs, nutritional scientists, breastfeeding advisors, health visitors and psychologists to help support parents, whether they have a newborn, pre-schooler or teenager.

Dr Rebecca Chicot, child development expert and co-founder of Essential Parent

How Essential Parent  can help UK parents:

Essential Parent logo


Despite the current media attention and the great work that charities such as the Meningitis Research Trust are doing, 90% of parents surveyed are still not confident that they will recognise the symptoms of meningitis. Sadly, one in 10 babies who contract meningitis die and one in four is left with after-effects sometimes as severe as deafness, brain damage and amputation.   About two deaths will occur almost every week in children under a year old. Early recognition is particularly important in babies.

Consultant Paediatrician Dr. Anna Maw says: “It is vital that new parents have the confidence and knowledge to seek emergency medical treatment for their baby or child if they show symptoms of meningitis. Once familiar with the symptoms, you can feel more confident about knowing when to get your child to A&E.”

Essential Parent, with specialist footage from the Meningitis Research Trust has produced a video tutorial – very clearly showing parents how to recognise the symptoms and explaining when to get medical treatment fast.


With an increasing number of UK children being diagnosed as obese and paediatricians having to deal with type two diabetes for the first time in the UK, the research revealed that only 8% of parents thought their child was obese or overweight despite national statistics indicating that over 30% of 10-11 year-olds and over 20% of 4-5 year-olds are overweight or obese. A new study by researchers at University College London revealed that irregular bedtimes and insufficient sleep in childhood may also result in increased calorie consumption and obesity.

Essential Parent expert and NHS child sleep consultant Mandy Gurney says: 

“Sleep is vital to good health, as this research has highlighted. Parents are unclear as to how much sleep their children really need, but Essential Parent can help and offers evidence-based advice on creating effective sleep routines.” Essential Parent Dietitian, Melissa Little, offers straightforward advice on healthy, balanced diets for babies and children.


Nearly half of parents surveyed admitted that they are simply not confident about breastfeeding, with one of the biggest worries for new mums being that they’re not producing enough milk. But a newborn’s stomach is only the size of a marble and therefore can only take a very small amount of milk at each feed in the early days.  Unfounded worry like this could be avoided if more women were given this information around the time of the birth of their baby. Despite Department of Health recommendations that babies should be breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life, the UK has the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe and this is in part due to a lack of confidence in women that they can breastfeed.

Breastfeeding baby

Essential Parent and UNICEF breastfeeding consultant Sally Tedstone explains the basics, and super clear ‘how-to’ online videos show new mums exactly what to do.  

Screen time

New research has revealed that children are spending so much time on screens that it affecting their physical development – leaving many children with less core strength and balance than previous generations.  In addition, blue light from screens also disrupts sleep hormones, meaning that many children are not getting the quality sleep they need (children who are very sleep-deprived may exhibit ADHD-type behaviour, putting them at risk of a misdiagnosis of the condition).

Toddler sleeping

Essential Parent expert and head teacher at Hacklab, Mark Calleja, offers parents practical advice on how to encourage their children to use technology safely. Mark says: “The survey results are worrying as parents are still not aware of the impact prolonged screen time has on their child’s development and are struggling with how to help their children in a virtual world.”

Essential Parent has created content to match today’s lifestyle, with expert advice available on the go, via smartphone at the touch of a button.

See for yourself at: www.essentialparent.com.