Comparison of methods for assessing in home night time crying in healthy infants

Lisa Eastcott, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Infant colic is a common condition that is thought to put infants at risk for Shaken Baby Syndrome, a particularly devastating form of child abuse. However, little research has been done on techniques parents can use to deal with infant colic. This pilot study was conducted to assess the equipment that will be used in a randomized control trial that will compare the results for two different techniques that parents can use to reduce crying in infants with colic. Methods. A total of 11 healthy infants, between one and five months of age, were recruited into this pilot study. All infants had a dosimeter, actiwatch and maternal log placed into the home and a subset of infants (N=3) were also recorded by a video camera. The equipment recorded between 6pm and 6am for at least two and up to five nights. The maternal log and video log were compared with one another to determine if the maternal log provides an accurate representation of the infant's night-time activities (i.e. sleep, awake, crying, feeding). The maternal log was then compared to the dosimeter and actiwatch data to determine if the dosimeter/actiwatch accurately reproduce the maternal log. Results. Data from 10 infants were included in the analyses. The maternal log and video log were in full or partial agreement 90% of the time. When comparing events noted by the mother, the maternal log and dosimeter data were in agreement 84% of the time, and the maternal log and actiwatch data were in agreement 87% of the time. In combination, the dosimeter and/or actiwatch data agreed with the maternal log 90% of the time. Conclusions. Our preliminary analyses of these data suggest the dosimeter and actiwatch will be useful tool for defining infant sleep patterns relative to the maternal log. However further analysis will be required to develop threshold values that can be used to objectively define events in the proposed RCT. Such analyses will need to integrate data from multiple dosimeters and deal with the shifting baselines observed for both the dosimeter and actiwatch.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Eastcott, Lisa, "Comparison of methods for assessing in home night time crying in healthy infants" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1497516.