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Posted on September 22nd, 2016
Don’t lose your cool.
Take the time to chill.
If you think the baby might be crying for a reason, you can try these techniques, but whatever you do, don’t lose your cool.
• Try feeding baby slowly, burping often.
• Check baby’s diaper; change it if needed.
• Hold baby safely against your chest.
• Walk or rock the baby.
• Take baby for a ride in a stroller or car.
• Sing or play soft music to help soothe the baby.
The messages above are from a new critical statewide initiative launched by a coalition of state agencies and child-care organizations to educate Connecticut parents about the dangers of shaking an infant due to excessive crying. Visit the Office of Early Childhood’s Chill website about preventing shaken baby syndrome.
Studies have shown that educational materials change knowledge and resulting behavior around crying and its impact on shaken baby syndrome. Shaken baby syndrome, or abusive head trauma, is caused by the violent shaking of a child with or without contact between the child’s head and a hard surface. Such contact may result in head trauma, including subdural hematoma, diffuse axonal injury and retinal hemorrhage.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent report that abusive head trauma is a leading cause of child abuse deaths in children under the age of five in the United States and accounts for about one-third of all child maltreatment deaths. The Centers also report that the most common trigger for abusive head trauma is inconsolable crying, and that babies less than one-year old are at greatest risk.
“We know that crying is a common stimulus for shaking,” Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz said. “Crying increases in the first month after birth, peaks in the second month, and decreases by the fourth month. Prolonged, inconsolable and unpredictable episodes of crying that cluster in the evening occur only during the first few months after birth. These episodes are a source of frustration for parents and caregivers. This campaign will help provide education and guidance to parents about the crying and how to take steps to prevent shaken baby syndrome.”
Although Shaken Baby Syndrome is attributed to both males and females, research indicates that perpetrators are most commonly males. The awareness campaign, therefore, targets fathers and males and shows imagery of a loving father or male caregiver and suggests various behaviors to take instead of shaking the crying infant.
Read the OEC’s “Chill” campaign press release.