Gransnet forums


What's the risk to your grandchild?

(26 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 13-Jun-13 09:40:50

In their guest blog post Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter, authors of The Norm Chronicles, talk stats and scaremongering. Have your say and you could win one of 5 copies of their book.

j08 Thu 13-Jun-13 09:55:23

I don't think it would be any better "better to go by a lightning strike than a downed power line." I don't think you'd give it a lot of thought at the time.

Potatos with little sprouty bits are not a commercial product. And that caused a lot of anxiety for people feeding pregnant women.

Not sure what the point of that blog is.

j08 Thu 13-Jun-13 09:56:51

Btw, someone forgot to put a link to the thread. smile

j08 Thu 13-Jun-13 09:58:19

I don't like the look of either of those blokes either. Both got a sneery look.

j08 Thu 13-Jun-13 10:01:12

It's a bit ridiculous to compare the deaths of babies in the Democratic Republic of Congo with deaths of UK babies in 1919. Even back then the reasons for the deaths were very different.

Mishap Thu 13-Jun-13 10:05:54

I too am unsure what they are trying to say.

whenim64 Thu 13-Jun-13 10:11:06

Quote 'Maybe scientists have taken the mythical role of mothers-in-law by dispensing unasked-for advice, now that prospective grandparents are meek, well-behaved and know their place (cue ironic laugh).'

Got my back up before I read the rest of the blog.

I'm not interested in the daily meanderings of speculative research that gets reported and refuted within 24 hours.

Let's see some fantastic advances in the world of baby milk manufacturers - yes, you! Nestle!! How about dramatically reducing the deaths of babies who are given formula milk made with dirty water. We keep seeing clever inventions for water purification, and publicity about helping women in third word countries to breastfeed for longer, as well as injections to combat infant diarrhoea. Combining these measures to help babies survive would be worth researching, reporting and blogging about.

gillybob Thu 13-Jun-13 10:20:40

I am fascinated with this subject and can very much relate it to my own experiences.

I had my son (now 33) when I was just 18. He was born prematurely and I did not know I was pregnant until the inevitable. I sailed through this "unknown" pregnancy without a care in the world. I ate and drank everything. I played sport, I danced the night away in a smokey club and I had no medical care whatsoever. Result quick and easy birth (he literally popped out).

Moving on 5 years I found out I was pregnant with my daughter within weeks of the first missed period. I had horrendous morning sickness, I felt tired and worn out most of the time. I was wrapped in cotton wool by my late husband who was desperate for everything to be perfect. I ate sensibly, attended every hospital and doctors appointment, having rhesus negative blood I was forever having blood tests. Result a long, difficult birth and baby daughter was still born prematurely.


Nelliemoser Thu 13-Jun-13 11:35:49

The moral has to be stop worrying about risks you cannot control particularly those health scares about which the evidence is very poor.

You cannot live your life on an it might happen basis. You would never get out of bed in the morning.

There seems to be a lot of standard and well researched advice about maternal health in pregnancy. Make sure your Folic acid intake is sufficient. Do not smoke in pregnancy or near children. Follow good dietary advice to ensure good maternal nutrition. Nothing in life is without risk. Follow advice on cot death prevention. Current guidelines have reduced the incidence of this considerably.

It is impossible to prevent all risks in childbirth and early childhood. I suspect there is a point at which lowering infant mortality any further becomes impossible. Certainly in our wealthy western society with proper health facilities.

At some point worrying about ill defined risks will cause you more stress than getting on with life.

Aka Thu 13-Jun-13 12:21:54

Good advice but easier said that done sad

Galen Thu 13-Jun-13 13:06:04

Actually I found it rather interesting and I liked the way it was presented. A novel way of presenting infant mortality statistics.

Nelliemoser Thu 13-Jun-13 13:06:33

Yes we will always worry, but if you can actually get accurate information about what the risks of x causing y, in a z year timescale; you can evaluate that risk much better than any from any of the information you get from the usually vague newspaper headline scare stories.

The best sort of information is not just to say how many people have died in airplane accidents every year.

To look at the risks objectively you also need to know how many people have flown how many air miles in that year and perhaps compare that with the number of road accident deaths per mile travelled.

whenim64 Thu 13-Jun-13 13:47:38

It's infuriating to read scary headlines like 'risk to newborns quadrupled' when the startng point is minute and four times that is still minute. Much information is churned out mindlessly, and is not practically helpful.

KatGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 13-Jun-13 13:51:02


Btw, someone forgot to put a link to the thread. smile

All done now smile

j08 Thu 13-Jun-13 14:24:30

[Grin] Ta.

GrannyGear Fri 14-Jun-13 15:07:33

It's surprising what you can get by quoting statistics out of context. Figures for cycling injuries often quote numbers killed or seriously injured without relating this to the number of cyclists in the sample or the number of cycling miles covered. Some studies measure the number of "trips" without distinguishing between a half-mile ride to the shop and a 100-mile road race.

Most of the stats quoted in the blog, though no doubt accurate, were out of context and so didn't give the complete picture.

nanaej Fri 14-Jun-13 16:17:53

Am I being particularly obtuse? But I thought that the whole point of the blog and their book is pointing out how statistics are misused and manipulated and presented out of context often just to make headlines. For example the recent stuff about avoiding almost everything when pregnant. If the mortality rate is currently very low then the increased risk that this research talks about actually represents a miniscule chance of additional infant death. But if we do not know the numbers of infant mortality to begin with we might think the risk is far greater. Does that make sense to anyone????

The statistics about infant mortality show how safe it is for children in the UK but we still (as a society) become very anxious about 'scares'. Accepting that any child's death is a tragedy and especially for its family we are worrying disproportionately over something that is most unlikely to happen.

Or have I got completely the wrong end of the stats???

Nelliemoser Fri 14-Jun-13 17:10:57

Nanaej I had also thought the point was about how well we as individuals do or don't assess risk.
Like those who feel panicked at the implied "you must kill this dreadful bacteria in your house" disinfectant sprays Domestos and others, promote. However there are probably far more bacteria in your bodies than on most well wiped kitchen work surfaces.

A large number of tabloids seem to enjoy passing these on as scare stories.

Schools should teach how to evaluate this "research " stuff. I think it could be done with out needing to be a statistican.

eg."There was an 100% increase in assaults in Xtown last year."
The numbers went up from one to two! Then to really know how bad the situation is it would help to know how many people were in the town.
The reasoning is not that complicated, the maths is. To me anyway, failed O level maths 1964 with 25%.

nanaej Fri 14-Jun-13 18:00:56

nellie you are in good company re Maths! I failed my 'o' level too!

I think you and I are thinking along the same lines!

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 02-Jul-13 10:34:44

And the five names drawn out of the (very busy) hat are:


Email coming your way shortly

Galen Tue 02-Jul-13 10:51:04

Thank you. Looking forward to

FlicketyB Tue 02-Jul-13 14:36:55

It is amazing how world population has managed to grow from 2 only (?) to 8 or 9 billion without all the advice, medical care and pundits criticism that we get now, in fact I am amazed it ever went form 2 to 3!

Nelliemoser Wed 03-Jul-13 09:56:13

Yeah! I had forgotten what I did to win that. I was puzzled at Cari's email.

I am looking forward to that.

susieb755 Wed 03-Jul-13 22:04:40

Biggest risk to my expected grandchild is my dyspraxic son dropping it.....

susieb755 Wed 03-Jul-13 22:05:06

he did it to his sister 22 years ago smile