About the Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Center
Click Here If you are an organization, hospital, community leader, or health care professional to learn more about our in-hospital prevention trainings, our 3 Inoculation strategy, and how you may be able to receive free SBS/AHT prevention materials.
The injury or death of a child is always a tragedy. However, cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome / Abusive Head Trauma (SBS/AHT) are made all the more tragic because they are preventable. Since the early 1990s, Massachusetts Citizens for Children has been a leader in prevention of SBS/AHT in Massachusetts and in the country. Through its Massachusetts SBS Prevention Center, MCC is reaching thousands of parents, caregivers, professionals and the public through comprehensive SBS prevention education programs within birthing hospitals and in a wide range of family-serving organizations in the community.
At the core of the ShakenBabySyndromePreventionCenter's efforts is the concept that SBS/AHT is preventable. In such cases the most frequently cited trigger for shaking is infant crying, or more precisely, the caregiver's inability to either stop the crying or cope with the stress of inconsolable crying. Seeing this link between frustrated caregivers and SBS/AHT – and recognizing a gap in parent education materials – the ShakenBabyPreventionCenter set out to create high quality, comprehensive educational tools that could be easily distributed to new parents without overwhelming them. Our parent education tools focus on educating parents and caregivers about infant crying, teaching them strategies to sooth crying or fussy infants, and telling new parents and caregivers what they can do when those strategies don’t always work.
However, in order to be effective, this education can’t just happen once in a casual setting. Taking our cue from Dias and other researchers we implemented a 3 part strategy, which we refer to as our 3 Inoculation Strategy.
- The first inoculation consists of in-hospital SBS/AHT prevention: maternity nurses are taught about SBS and its prevention through our training DVD for HealthCare Providers. They, in turn, educate new parents using one-on-one instruction and enhanced by our educational tools –a brochure and a short movie presentation. The parents are then asked to sign a commitment statement, saying they received and understood the education materials and intend to share it with all their child's caregivers – an active rather than passive commitment.
- The second inoculation ensures that the key messages of SBS prevention are repeated and reinforced during the postpartum period when infant crying begins to increase and peak. By reaching out to and educating family-serving professionals such as pediatricians, pre-natal instructors, child protective service workers, home visitors, child-care providers, parent groups and community health centers the SBS Prevention Center ensures that key parts of parents and caregivers support systems are aware of the dangers of SBS/ AHT, warning signs, and what can be done to prevent the abuse.
- Finally, the third inoculation of public education activities ensures that everybody, not only parents, is educated about SBS/SHT. After all, children are not raised in isolation but rather as part of a larger community; they are looked after by boyfriends, girlfriends, grandparents, neighbors and close friends and relatives – all of whom should know that it is never okay to shake, slam, throw, hit or yell at a child.