A series of videos set up by an Edinburgh mum to help reassure children about hospital procedures has reached a milestone one million views.
Marit Boot founded the charity What? Why? Children in Hospital (WWCIH) in 2015 and has so far made 32 videos explaining everything from MRI and CT scans to allergy tests and X-rays.
Marit, 45, decided to act after being unable to find any child-friendly videos to reassure her daughter Susan, then five, who was anxious about going to hospital for an MRI and EEG.
She said: “I realised I needed to show my daughter in a positive way what was going to happen otherwise she would struggle to complete the procedure and could develop a fear of hospitals.
“We played pretend hospital with a teddy bear, cardboard box, strings and stickers, and this helped us both to prepare for hospital. I was very proud of her as she did really well in hospital.”
At the time Marit was working at the NHS as a senior manager for children with complex needs and after receiving positive feedback from a survey of parents – in which she asked them if they would find videos useful – she set about securing charitable status.
This then allowed her to apply for funding to make the videos, which cost around £6000 each to make and take around six months to complete. Marit, who lives in Inverleith, said she always hoped her films would be helpful but admitted it was hard to believe just how well they would do.
She said: “We are ever so happy, it’s a big achievement after starting so small. When I started I hoped it would maybe reach 1000 views in the first year – now we are at one million people so I’m so excited.
“It’s been amazing the response from across the world, we have had lots of different countries – Japan, Australia, America – saying they are using this in [their] clinics and it make such a difference.
“It’s been a big difference to the doctors and the families themselves as well.”
Marit explained that she had only planned on making ten videos at first, after which she planned to return to work full-time. However the films have proved such a hit she is now focussing solely on the charity.
“The list is growing and growing so there are lots of videos that we still need to make,” she said. “Every week I’ll get another email about a procedure I’ve never heard of before but I look up all the information and work with the doctors to make sure give the information that families are looking for.
“I’m very busy but I’m absolutely loving it. To do something I care about so much and the feedback from the families is just amazing. It makes such a difference.”
One mum, whose little boy is currently in The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, commonly known as the Sick Kids, said: “It is brilliant to have videos about hospital tests, as I like to see what is going to happen to my child.
“And if I feel calmer about going to hospital, my child is more relaxed too.”
The next film to be released by WWCIH will be one explaining what happens during skin prick tests.
All the videos can be found on YouTube or at www.whatwhychildreninhospital.org.uk.