Sunday, August 24, 2008

Diane at Foster Family Talk has a post about a shaken baby case in Florida. She reminds parents of the importance of checking references of child care providers.

This was my response:

A parent should certainly research all available references and history.

However, while that's necessary, it's not sufficient to ensure that you've done everything you can to protect your child.

You must talk with your child care provider about the danger of shaking young children, that frustration and anger is a normal response to caring for young children, and they need to agree to follow a simple coping plan: recognize that frustration, leave the baby in a safe place and call someone, either as a safety vent or to acknowledge the frustration. They need to know that it's OK with you to have feelings of frustration.

It can be done in a manner that doesn't accuse, but instead talks about sharing knowledge and opportunity to protect your child from injury. If your child is an infant, it can be especially effective coupled with SIDS information.

In New York and several other states, licensed providers must have training on the causes, consequences and prevention of shaken baby. That obligation doesn't extend to "exempt" providers, and it's not complete assurance - providers have attended training and still shaken children.

But this education model is based on a program for new parents in Buffalo that reduced the incidence of shaken babies and inflicted injuries by 50%.

Not perfect, but for a simple 15 minute intervention, pretty effective insurance!...

So, if a parent just checks references, they will have a false sense of security.

Sharing information with all other caregivers of your child about the causes and consequences of SBS and the need for a simple coping plan - and ensuring they share your commitment to using it - is the key.

And not only will that help protect your child, it will help protect others.

For more info, visit the resources page on

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