About The Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Center
What Organizations, Hospitals, Family Serving Professionals, Health Care Providers and Communities Need to Know

Since the early 1990s, MassKids has been a leader for Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) prevention in Massachusetts and in the country. Through its Massachusetts SBS Prevention Center, MassKids 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 Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Center's efforts is the concept that Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma is preventable. In cases of SBS/AHT 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 Shaken Baby Prevention Center set out to create high quality, comprehensive educational tools that could be easily distributed to new parents to educate without overwhelming them.  Our parent education tools focus on educating parents and caregivers about infant crying, teaching them strategies to soothe 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, called our 3 Inoculation Strategy.

  • The first inoculation consists of in-hospital SBS/AHT prevention: maternity nurses are taught about SBS and its prevention and 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 – 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 peak and increase.  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 members of caregivers' support system are aware of the dangers of SBS/ AHT, the warning signs, and what can be done to prevent abuse.

  • Finally, the third inoculation: the SBS Center's public education activities ensures that everybody, not only parents, is educated about SBS/AHT.  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.

The Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Center’s evaluated training tools for maternity nurses, health care providers, community professionals and parents have been widely recognized for their high quality and comprehensiveness and have been adopted in several states. Over one million of its "Never Shaken a Baby" brochures and its latest "Infant Crying and Soothing: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Baby Safe" brochures have been distributed in Massachusetts and across the country and Canada.

Here you can 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


SBS Prevention Center Services

The Massachusetts SBS Prevention Center is seeking to provide technical assistance, training and prevention materials to interested communities. The Center can provide:

  • Training of Trainers sessions for family-serving professionals
  • Project coordination of local SBS prevention efforts
  • Training of nurses by nurse educators skilled in SBS training
  • Nurses Training protocol developed by MassKids and reviewed by SBS experts working in hospital settings
  • In-hospital SBS parent education tools, including evaluated DVDs, brochures, parent certificates (available in English, Spanish and Portuguese)
  • Public relations and SBS in-hospital and community prevention awareness events
  • SBS Remembrance Quilt rental to community groups and individuals


For more information, contact:

Jetta Bernier, Executive Director
Massachusetts Citizens for Children
14 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
617-742-8555 ext. 2  
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