Shaken Baby Syndrome has been prevalent in the news lately, not from an increase in incidents, but from a larger push for awareness of this painful topic. The Woman’s Hospital of Greensboro has created an “evidence-based shaken baby prevention program” that will begin educating parents after they have given birth but before they are discharged.
The goal of the program is to significantly reduce Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) in North Carolina by 50 percent in the next five years. Standing out, this intervention program is the largest and most comprehensive in the nation. By sharing this information with all new parents, the hospital will benefit an estimated 125,000 babies a year.
SBS affects between 1,200 to 1,400 babies a year, and one out of four don’t survive. The brain injury resulting from this type of brain trauma includes seizures, mental retardation, delayed development, paralysis, impaired cognitive function, broken bones and more. When the child is shaken, the brain is knocked against the sides of the skull, causing extensive damage to the soft tissue.
Close to 80 percent of the perpetrators are male and more than 60 percent of the victims are also male. With these statistics, it makes sense that programs are developed that educate both of the parents or caregivers involved. SBS usually occurs when adults become angry or frustrated, often due to the period of excessive crying that dontshake.org calls “PURPLE Crying”. The purple period is from about two weeks old until four to five months after the child’s birth.
Various programs such as the one at the Woman’s Hospital of Greensboro and the PURPLE program offer booklets and videos that are designed to prepare new parents for their child’s crying. They provide details on how to deal with the situation in a healthy manner and how to find relief for themselves before they lose control and shake the baby.
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