New study reveals lack of awareness from parents at spotting symptoms of meningitis

Parents admit they would struggle to identify the signs of meningitis, spot if their child was being bullied - or even perform CPR on a baby or child, a study has found.

Millions also lack confidence in how to feed their newborn and how to monitor their children and teenagers online to keep them safe.

A staggering nine in 10 mums and dads aren’t confident they could spot the signs of meningitis early on, with a quarter admitting they don’t feel at all sure they would be able to tell the difference between the deadly illness over a common cold or flu.

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And less than one in 10 are confident they would know exactly what to do if a child or baby needed CPR.

The stats emerged in a poll by expert-led online parenting resource Essential Parent, which is advised by both Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the St John Ambulance and UNICEF UK Baby Friendly.

Dr Rebecca Chicot, child development expert and co-founder of Essential Parent, said: “The knowledge and reassurance that used to be passed down from mothers and grandmothers, has been replaced by advice from many different sources, many of which are contradictory, opinionated and not based on scientific evidence.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.”

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The study, of 1,000 parents of children aged 0-18 found more than three quarters of parents aren’t confident they know how to keep their children safe online, with more than one in 10 saying they have no idea how to do this.

This advice from NHS should help you identify the signs of meningitis

A classic symptom of meningitis is a blotchy rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it, but this doesn’t appear in many cases. You should get medical advice as soon as possible if you’re concerned about yourself or your child. Trust your instincts and don’t wait until a rash develops.

Call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department if you think you or your child might be seriously ill. Call NHS 111 or your GP surgery for advice if you’re not sure if it’s anything serious

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The classic rash associated with meningitis usually looks like small, red pinpricks at first.

It then spreads over the body quickly and turns into red or purple blotches. If you press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin and the rash doesn’t fade, it’s a sign of blood poisoning (septicaemia) caused by meningitis and you should get medical advice right away.

The rash can be harder to see on dark skin. Check for spots on paler areas like the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, the tummy, inside the eyelids, and the roof of the mouth.

Meningitis can have a number of other symptoms, too, including:

• a high temperature (fever) over 37.5C (99.5F)

• feeling and being sick

• irritability and a lack of energy

• a headache

• aching muscles and joints

• breathing quickly

• cold hands and feet

• pale, mottled skin

• a stiff neck

• confusion

• a dislike of bright lights

• drowsiness

• fits (seizures)

Babies may also:

• refuse feeds

• be agitated and not want to be picked up

• have a bulging soft spot on their head (fontanelle)

• be floppy or unresponsive

• have an unusual high-pitched cry

• have a stiff body

These symptoms can develop in any order and some may not appear.