Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome: The Critical Role of Parent Education
It's a split-second decision that no adult wants to make. You're caring for a baby who won't stop crying. You feel yourself becoming more and more frustrated by the second. In a moment of desperation, you shake them, hoping it will bring relief for you both. But what if I told you that this split-second decision could have devastating, lifelong consequences?
It might sound strange - even unbelievable - but many parents, babysitters, caregivers and other adults are unaware of the true harm that shaking a baby can cause. It's time to face the facts: this seemingly harmless act can have severe and long-lasting effects on a child's health and development.
I personally experienced the devastating effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome when my son Austin was just three months old. He was a fussy baby and had a tough time being separated from me. Unfortunately, we faced unforeseen issues with his trusted babysitter of three years. Life can be tough on anyone, and she was struggling with her own challenges. However, she took out her frustrations on my innocent child and shook
This left Austin fighting for his life, and he had to be resuscitated by first responders on the scene. From then on, our family began a long and ongoing journey of recovery, which included countless therapies, surgeries, and an immense amount of time and energy. The devastating event even contributed to the breakdown of my marriage. Despite all of this, nothing compares to the daily struggles Austin has faced since that traumatic day. His ability to function as a normal boy his age has been severely impacted, and he will likely carry the consequences of this tragedy for the rest of his life.
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a preventable form of child abuse that can have
severe and lifelong consequences for infants and young children. It is a serious and
often life-threatening condition that occurs when a baby is shaken violently, causing the
brain to move back and forth inside the skull. This can lead to brain damage, bleeding,
and swelling, which can result in permanent disabilities or death.
As the father of a child who's son is a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome, I feel a calling to educate others. Not only to educate, but to prevent it from happening. I work as a Parenting Educator at Family Guidance and Outreach, where I teach classes on Shaken Baby Syndrome.
We believe that educating parents about SBS is a critical step in preventing this devastating form of child abuse. As part of our mission to build and empower healthy families through education and awareness, we offer training and resources to help parents understand the risks and consequences of shaking a baby.
By educating parents about SBS, we can help them understand that shaking a baby is
never an appropriate way to respond to crying or fussiness. We can also teach them
about the signs and symptoms of SBS, such as irritability, lethargy, vomiting, seizures,
and breathing problems, and encourage them to seek medical attention if their child
displays any of these symptoms.
Additionally, we provide classes about the Period of Purple Crying. The Period of Purple
Crying is a term used to describe a developmental stage that infants go through where
they cry more frequently and for longer periods of time. This period typically starts
around two weeks of age and can last until about three to four months of age. During
this time, infants may cry for no apparent reason, despite being fed, changed, and
comforted. The crying may be more intense and may occur more frequently during the
late afternoon and evening hours.
Period of Purple Crying is a normal part of infant development, but it can be challenging
for parents and caregivers to cope with. It is important for parents and caregivers to
understand that this phase is temporary and that the infant's crying will eventually
decrease over time.
At Family Guidance and Outreach, we recognize that parenting can be challenging, and
we are committed to supporting parents in their efforts to provide a safe and nurturing
environment for their children. By educating parents about SBS and providing resources
to help them develop the skills and knowledge they need to care for their children, we
can help prevent the devastating effects of this form of child abuse.
If you are a parent or caregiver of an infant or young child, we encourage you to utilize
the resources we have at Family Guidance and Outreach. We want to help you provide
the best possible care for your child. Together, we can work to build a world where
every child is safe, healthy, and thriving.
For more information on Shaken Baby Syndrome program, we have a dedicated page. Visit: http://www.preventsbs.org/