She describes watching a shaken baby prevention video in hospital....
Before I had children of my own, I reacted to news of tragedies concerning children much differently. I was saddened, disturbed, sorry for the family - but it didn’t prey on my subconscious like it does now.
I can’t read the articles or listen to the news reports. I struggle with the blog posts,which are mercifully few and far between. Before being discharged from the
hospital with CJ, I was required to watch a video about shaken baby syndrome. I burst into tears afterward, and the visuals from the video stay with me even now. The “Never Shake a Baby” radio and TV ads cause me to change the channel. Even typing these words makes me well up.
This was my response....
I’m curious to know whether you think the hospital could have “framed” the
info in a way that would have changed your response.
We advocate for hospital based prevention education and encourage the nurses to present the information not as an obligation (”you should never shake your baby”) but as an opportunity (”this will help you learn about the causes of shaking injuries
so you can help protect your baby against injuries”).
It’s easier for the parents and for the educators. It’s easier for hospitals too: everyone benefits.
And it’s very important for parents to be able to educate - not just tell - all the other caregivers around their child (not just child care, but baby sitters, sibling, the neighbor who’s an emergency backup): shaking is dangerous to young children (up to 5 years old) and frustration is normal, so even good caregivers need to recognize when that response is getting out of hand and have a simple coping plan ready.
It can be as simple as putting the child in a safe place, catching your breathe and calling someone to vent for a few minutes. The first step can be hardest, especially for a parent: you have to acknowledge the stress…
And the best thing is that once a parent understands the importance of positively educating other caregivers, and accepts the role of educator, they reinforce their own knowledge and behavior.
It’s certainly scary to learn about something that could hurt your child which you
have no control over: it’s much better to learn about the danger and what
you can do to protect your child.
Eduation is effective. Hospitals in the Buffalo area of New York have been doing education since 1998: since they started, the rate of inflicted infant head injury has dropped by 50%.
So you may not be able to avoid thinking about the tragedies - there are more than most people realize - but I hope you will also take advantage of your opportunity to
share knowledge about preventing those injuries.