Dr Con James (consultant paediatrician and father of 4): I think the important thing that parents need to realise with babies, especially children under one year of age, is that the baby is growing at an incredible rate and any major insult to that baby, whether it be infection, whether it be starvation because mum’s run out of breastmilk or whether it be a urinary tract infection that’s stopping the baby from feeding and they’re losing weight month after month, those things can have serious intellectual and physical effects on the baby.
Katherine (mother of Lakita): Lakita was born with cataracts in both eyes. Only 1 in 10,000 babies are born with cataracts. We had no idea. It should have been picked up at birth and at her 2- and 6-week check-ups and it was missed. Um, I went along to one of my mothers’ groups and I noticed another baby who was 2 weeks older than her, um, really looking at the toy that she was dangling over him and I thought, ‘Oh, Lakita’s not looking at her toys at all’. At her 6-8 week check, the woman did ask me if she was tracking, which is following you, and that’s what set my alarm bells off and I said, ‘No, not at all’, and I was kinda freaking out, going something is going on, I just need to know, I know her sight is not right.
Dr James: Things are missed, and I think it’s important, if you don’t think something’s right with your baby, seek medical attention and if the advice you are getting doesn’t seem quite right, well, maybe you’ve got to ask another question another way round.
Katherine: Ended up ringing 3 OPSMs. One of them said, ‘Yep, our optometrist is in tomorrow’, booked me in on the Sunday, went to her, she said, ‘Definitely, I think you are right, there’s definitely something going on’. We were really lucky that we caught it in the nick of time. If it had been left beyond 3 months, she would have been permanently impaired because the pathways to the brain start to shut down as nothing is coming through.
It’s really shown me that if you are unsure of anything with your baby, better to be over the top and have it checked out and it be completely fine, rather than to let it go because with all, a lot of these things that can go wrong with babies, the earlier it’s found out the better.
Dr James: I’d never be embarrassed as a parent worrying about your baby, because they’ve only got the parent to protect them, nobody else.
Narrator: If you are ever worried about your baby, check in at a local child health centre or call your GP.