Monday, April 13, 2009

SBS Awareness Campaign: Long Island

Channel 7 News (the New York City affiliate of ABC) reports that Schneider Childrens's Hospital on Long Island is sponsoring an awareness campaign in response to a recent spike in SBS cases reported on Long Island.

Doctors at Schneider Children's Hospital say for the first time in 25 years, the hospital has created a campaign focused on shaken baby syndrome. They say the reason it comes now is due to fear that stress from the economy may add to an increase in this type of child abuse.

The ad, which features a father with his son, reads: "Real men have a soft touch. Never shake a baby." If you haven't seen it yet, there's a good chance you will. The full page ad is running in newspapers. It's also prominently displayed on jumbotrons in Times Square and on posters on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains. In addition, a radio spot is airing this month with the same message.

The massive campaign is sponsored by Schneider Children's Hospital, and it's an attempt to curb the increase in shaken baby syndrome.

"We've had five or six cases in six months. Last year we had one. We need to look into why?" Dr. Fred Bierman said.

While Schneider deserves kudos for its effort to increase awareness of the vulnerability of children to inflicted head injuries, it's surprising that there's no mention of education efforts at local maternity hospitals.

Since 2004, New York has required that hospitals offer new parents the opportunity to watch a SBS prevention video.

Of course, that prevention initiative is based on the program developed by Dr. Mark Dias at Children's Hospital of Buffalo. The Upstate New York SBS Prevention Project has reduced the incidence of inflicted head injury in the Buffalo area by 50%. A counterpart program at Westchester Medical Center was scheduled to start serving hospitals on Long Island in 2008.

General awareness is good, but educating new parents so they have the opportunity to help protect their child is even better.

Resource: Link to NYSBSPP article on nurses' role in prevention.

Resoure: Link to Pediatrics report by Dias et al.

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