Sunday, September 27, 2009

Prevention: Exchange Club Family Skills, Birmingham, AL in Birmingham, Alabama reports that the Exchange Club Family Skills Center partnered with several agencies for a Child Safety Fair at the Marks Village Community Center. One of the focal points was a display which offered a detailed demonstration of what happens to a baby's brain when it is shaken.


Exchange Club Family Skills Center, Birmingham - Link
Exchange Club SBS Education Program - Link
Exchange Club Resources - Link
Realityworks SBS Simulator Doll - Link

Legislative Alert: Home Visiting Services

In August, the Child Welfare League of America sent an email reminder about home visiting services.

It's still timely: action you can take to ensure your legislators are aware of the importance of providing new parents with home visiting services (Congress should be returning home at the end of October). Link to CWLA resources on home visiting...

Home visiting provides opportunity - not an obligation - for parents to learn more about raising children and keeping them safe...(and here's a link to take CWLA's survey about prevention initiatives: so far, "prevention of child abuse and neglect was ranked by 16% of respondents as the number one priority...ahead of other critical areas such as strengthening child protective services (14%) and youth transitioning out of foster care (11%)...CWLA is going to use these survey findings to gather more information on each of the critical issues.")
Home visiting provisions have been included in health reform legislation. While your U.S. Senators and Representative are back in your state and district...tell them to keep home visiting in the final health reform package!

Before making your call, review CWLA's one pager explaining why home visiting is important! See


Call your U.S. Senators and Representative and tell them to support home visiting in health reform legislation. The toll-free number to be connected to your lawmakers' offices is 1-800-828-0498

Support comprehensive health reform legislation!

Support the home visiting amendments that will reduce child maltreatment and save on unnecessary healthcare costs down the road.


The U.S. House and Senate are debating comprehensive health reform legislation. This legislation is too important to be trampled by partisan politics. The home visiting elements that are in the current health reform legislation refer to evidence based models that deliver parent education and family support to parents with young children.

Home visitation is an effective, research-based and cost-efficient way to bridge the gap between vulnerable families and the resources that will ensure that children grow up healthy and ready to learn.

There are many families who are in need of the prenatal and maternal health services that these home visits can provide.

Children who experience maltreatment are at a greater risk of adverse health effects and home visiting not only educates parents, but also provides access to mental health, educational, and social services that might be available in the community.

For more information on current home visiting legislation, check out

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Preventing Injury: Tampa, Florida

The St. Petersberg Times reports on an interesting campaign in the Tampa area intended to keep infants safe. I do hope the "safe caregivers" portion includes education about SBS prevention...

Child advocates launch Hillsborough County campaign to save lives
By Stephanie Bolling, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Saturday, September 19, 2009

TAMPA — Susan Martin- Warren looks at her 4-year-old son. A brace on his right ankle. A splint on his limp right hand. He talks and walks, but she worries about his development.

When Graham was just months old, his father caused permanent trauma to the left side of his brain. Doctors called it shaken baby syndrome. Authorities sent the father to prison.

Graham will live with the impairment for the rest of his life.

"We don't know what he will face as an adolescent and young adult. I worry about him everyday," said Martin-Warren.

It's the sort of incident that has led child advocates to launch a major campaign to reduce preventable deaths and traumatic injuries of young children.

"I got sick of hearing about kids dying from being wedged in a couch cushion or drowning in 6 inches of bath water. They had loving parents that didn't know any better. Their deaths were completely preventable," said Nick Cox, the Suncoast regional director for the Department of Children and Families.

So he and other child advocates have teamed up and launched an ambitious new effort. The campaign has gained sweeping momentum county-wide with partnerships between the Children's Board of Hillsborough County, the Department of Children and Families, Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough and public and private organizations.

"Most parents have good intentions and want the best for their child and most communities are equipped with the resources to aid parents, but the challenge is connecting the two together," said Carolyn Eastman, director of communications for the Children's Board of Hillsborough County.

She says the campaign focuses on three initiatives: safe sleeping, safe caregivers and water safety. To promote these messages, CBS Outdoor will post 16 billboards of rotating child safety messages, and HARTline buses will display 30 full-length ads on buses traveling all routes of Hillsborough County.

Hospitals will also play a big role, according to Jane Murphy, executive director for the Healthy Start Coalition. Beginning this fall, updated informational packages will be distributed to new mothers. The package will include a 95-page pamphlet outlining infant developmental processes and safety guidelines with a listing of community resources and phone numbers; a parenting DVD focusing on child safety that features mother Martin-Warren and her son Graham; a onesie reading "Put me on my back to sleep"; and a letter that parents will be asked to sign promising the child good care.

Some hospitals will offer one-on-one training and screening, including risk assessments, where they can provide parents with helpful advice, like where to get the best child care or how to obtain free car seats and baby beds.

Throughout the county, five Family Support and Resource Centers see about 60,000 families a year.

They too have committed to supporting the campaign and will tailor information and resources specific to their surrounding communities, Eastman said.

"The best result is when the entire community sees it as their responsibility to protect a child," she said. "If they don't know how to do it, then they will know how to find a resource and come together as community to help the impact of the needless amount of children that die every year."

The campaign will run at least through the end of next year, Cox said.

"If it saves one child, then it is worth it," he said.

Stephanie Bolling can be reached at (813) 226-3408 or

Monday, September 14, 2009

Awareness Vigil: Middletown, CT - 9/15

If you're near Middletown CT on September 15th, the Hartford Courant reports that the Connnecticut Children's Trust Fund is joining with a local group to sponsor a candlelight vigil.

Unfortunately, increasing awareness is not only a good thing, but apparently a necessary one...

Three Middletown babies have been injured recently after being shaken severely by an adult.

The Connecticut Children's Trust Fund and the local group, Shaken Baby Syndrome Committee, are sponsoring a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Middletown South Green to talk about shaken baby syndrome.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

SBS Survivors: Trae Caster, Texas

Trae Caster is a member of the Trinity High School marching band. You might not think that unusual, unless you know he survived injuries inflicted by a (licensed) child care provider when he was an infant. Now, he's playing with the band.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on his accomplishments (with video). It sounds like band director Mario Casanova deserves some kudos too!)...Link

Trae’s vision, his mother said, "comes and goes." He struggles to form words and walks with an uneven gait. But the slender youth clutching a pair of drumsticks is no less a part of the Trinity band than any of its other members — a fact that underscores the school’s mission statement.

"We . . . strive to educate, respect and recognize all students," it reads in part.

Band director Mario Casanova said he had no qualms about inviting Trae to make music with other students. Last year, a senior who played the trumpet marched with the Trojan band despite being legally blind. After his graduation the student embraced the band leader and thanked him for treating him like everyone else.

"We don’t know what Trae can or can’t do," Casanova said. "He doesn’t even know. But whatever he can do, more power to him. He loves music. And he’s having a great time.

Monday, September 07, 2009

SBS Awareness: Arizona

School Notes in the Arizona Star reports on an award-winning awareness project by Mountain View High School junior Londyn Whittier presented at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America's National Leadership Conference.

Kudos to Ms. Whittier and her teachers at Mountain View HS...
Mountain View High School junior Londyn Whittier received a gold medal in Applied Technology at the 2009 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, or FCCLA, National Leadership Conference held in July in Nashville, Tenn.
Whittier earned a score of 91.3 out of 100 for her project on shaken baby syndrome in the Applied Technology category.
She used a computer, video camera and a shaken baby syndrome simulator, which is a doll with a transparent head that lights up areas of the brain to indicate damaged areas when it is shaken, as part of her project.
Whittier also received a 10 out of 10 score for her oral presentation.

Friday, September 04, 2009

CDC Webinar: Child Maltreatment Prevention - 9/10/09

Ooo! Ooo! - "Tootie", Car 54

Couldn't help it - I channeled Tootie when I saw the speakers scheduled for this webinar. Should be interesting to hear their take on prevention, especially Jack Shonkoff....

Webinar Invitation

A Better Start:

Child Maltreatment Prevention as a Public Health Priority

Did you know some of the worst adult health problems in the nation can be linked to the toxic stress resulting from adverse experiences in childhood? Population health priorities, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are associated with harmful childhood experiences such as abuse or neglect.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention invites you to learn how your public health agency can make a difference in the lives and health of both children and adults at an upcoming webinar. James Mercy, PhD, and Jack Shonkoff, MD, experts in child maltreatment prevention and early childhood development, respectively, will discuss several topics including:

  • The important role public health agencies can and do play in preventing child maltreatment
  • The body of research linking harmful childhood experiences with long-term quality of life
  • How public health agencies can prevent child maltreatment by using the concept of safe, stable, nurturing relationships

The goals of this webinar are to develop a shared understanding of how the prevention of child maltreatment not only promotes optimal development but also reduces disparities in health and explore the important role public health agencies play in improving the health of children and families by preventing childhood abuse and neglect.


  • Ms. Francie Zimmerman - Doris Duke Charitable Foundation – Child Abuse Prevention Program
  • Dr. Jack Shonkoff - Harvard University – Center on the Developing Child
  • Dr. James Mercy - CDC – Division of Violence Prevention

Date: Thursday, September 10, 2009

Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST

Webinar Registration:

Click here to register for A Better Start: Child Maltreatment Prevention as a Priority.

Click here to learn more about CDC’s child maltreatment prevention efforts.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Reading List: SBS Articles

From my alert...

MG Ward, S Bennett, and WJ King
Prevention of shaken baby syndrome: Never shake a baby.
Paediatr Child Health 1 May 2004 9(5): p. 319.;19657516

L Meskauskas, K Beaton, and M Meservey
Preventing shaken baby syndrome: a multidisciplinary response to six tragedies.
Nurs Womens Health 1 Aug 2009 13(4): p. 325.;19686555

Ana Isabel Curcoy, Victoria Trenchs, Marta Morales, Alicia Serra, Merce Pineda, and Jordi Pou
Do retinal hemorrhages occur in infants with convulsions?
Arch Dis Child 6 Aug 2009.;19666457

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Legacy: Positive Parenting

Science Daily reports on a new parenting study, with an important insight: effective parenting education can become a legacy for generations to come....
A new study that looks at data on three generations of Oregon families shows that "positive parenting" – including factors such as warmth, monitoring children's activities, involvement, and consistency of discipline – not only has positive impacts on adolescents, but on the way they parent their own children.

The study will be published in the September issue of the journal Developmental Psychology in a special issue devoted to findings of some of the few long-term studies of intergenerational family processes.

Kerr said there is often an assumption that people learn parenting methods from their own parents. In fact, he said most research shows that a direct link between what a person experiences as a child and what she or he does as a parent is fairly weak.

"Instead, what we find is that 'negative' parenting such as hostility and lack of follow-through leads to 'negative' parenting in the next generation not through observation, but by allowing problem behavior to take hold in adolescence," Kerr said. "For instance, if you try to control your child with anger and threats, he learns to deal in this way with peers, teachers, and eventually his own children.

If you do not track where your child is, others will take over your job of teaching him about the world.

"We knew that these negative pathways can be very strong," Kerr said. "What surprised us is how strong positive parenting pathways are as well. Positive parenting is not just the absence of negative influences, but involves taking an active role in a child's life."
* * *
The researchers found that children who had parents who monitored their behavior, were consistent with rules and were warm and affectionate were more likely to have close relationships with their peers, be more engaged in school, and have better self-esteem.

"So part of what good parenting does is not only protect you against negative behaviors but instill positive connections with others during adolescence that then impact how you relate with your partner and your own child as an adult," Kerr said

"This research shows that when we think about the value of prevention, we should consider an even wider lens than is typical," he added. "We see now that changes in parenting can have an effect not just on children but even on grandchildren."


Texas: You Can't Have Too Much Awareness...

The Killeen Daily Herald reports that the Bell County Commissioners Court voted Monday to designate September as Shaken Baby Syndrome and Child Safety Awareness Month in Bell County.

A statistic cited by County Judge Jon Burrows suggests there is a need for education.

The court also agreed to declare September as Shaken Baby Syndrome and Child Safety Awareness Month. About one in three Texans polled doesn't know it is dangerous to shake babies, Burrows said.

Although the Texas legislature did pass hospital prevention legislation (SB 316) in 2005, it only requires hospitals to provide a brochure. Unfortunately, effective education requires more, but fortunately some hospitals in Texas are going beyond the minimum requirements of the law.


2009 SBS Awareness Week Resolution, US Senate - Link
2009 SBS Awareness Week Resolution, Texas Senate, SR 429 - Link
Hospital education requirement, Texas - Link to Senator Lucio's bill memo
Story of one family's effort in Texas to increase awareness link