Saturday, January 30, 2010

SBS Prevention Legislation: KY, NJ, OK

Prevention legislation has been introduced in the current sessions of the Kentucky (HB 285), New Jersey and Oklahoma (HB 411) state legislatures.

This article from WAVE TV in Frankfort reports on prevention efforts at Norton Hospital, with the assistance of the Child Advocacy Office at Kosair Children's Hospital. The last paragraph, as well as this blog post, succinctly sum up the reasons why legislation introduced by Rep. Addia Wuchner is necessary...

Legislators work to lower child abuse cases high in Kentucky

Posted: Jan 29, 2010 - By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) – With several recent baby abuse cases in Kentuckiana, lawmakers are looking at ways to prevent them before they happen. In 2009, Kentucky had the most child deaths related to abuse in the country.

With 39 years under her belt as a critical care nurse, Justi O'Flynn, who works at Kosair Children's Hospital, has seen lots of kids play with dolls, but there is one that could save a life.

"This doll is the size of a 4-month-old baby and it shows the different areas of the brain," said O'Flynn. O'Flynn uses the toy most children cling to as a model of what can happen if a parents loses control.

"What happens when someone gets frustrated with a baby and they shake them and it causes the little vessels inside the brain to cause some bleeding," said O'Flynn shaking the doll.

When the doll shakes, its brain hits the side of the scull, lighting up the parts that can have lasting damage. The damage can happen by just shaking a child for as few as five seconds.

"Blindness; they can be ventilator-dependant," said O'Flynn describing what can happen to the baby. "They can have learning difficulties they can have learning disorders. They can die."

To teach this valuable lesson to parents, Norton Hospital is piloting a program.

"New mommies, new daddies, new caregivers, to watch this video to become educated one-on-one on comprehensive treatment to help prevent child abuse, specifically shaken baby syndrome," said Therese Sirles, director of child advocacy.

Lawmakers in Frankfort are proposing a bill that will spread the video message across the state, not just for parents, but teach front-line workers the signs of abuse and how to prevent it.

"We've been on defense with this," said Rep. Addia Wuchner (R-Burlington). "We're seeing them as first responders, law-enforcement is seeing them, the doctors are seeing them when they come in. Now we're taking in a sense an offensive."

The plan is to make the doll can once again be a comfort to children instead of a reminder of abuse.

The video teaches parents that all children cry and it is normal. If you're feeling overly frustrated, take a few steps back, count to ten, or call someone to come over and be with the baby for a little while.

Copyright 2010 WAVE-TV. All rights reserved.