Monday, April 26, 2010

Survivors: Adam Carbajal, Part II

Three First Five counties joined to bring the story of Adam Carbajal, and the remarkable campaign of his grandparents for legislation that creates serious consequences for those who inflict injuries on young children, to video - via YouTube...

More on Adam's story.

More on the effort to enact Adam's Law, sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Villines:
Adam's Law: Shake, Hit or Hurt a Child Severely = 15 Years-to-Life

In November of 2004, a young resident of our Fresno community, Adam Carbajal, became a victim of devastating child abuse by being subjected to shaken baby syndrome resulting in severe head trauma. Although Adam was initially given only a five percent chance of survival, he lives today with permanent brain damage and is paralyzed on the right side. Adam cannot walk, talk or do anything most little boys his age can do.

Adam's perpetrator was charged with two counts – corporal injury to a child and willful cruelty to a child under the age of five. After skipping bail and being on the run for months, then harassing Adam's family and insisting he fell on his own, only to later plead guilty, Adam's assailant will only serve seven and a half years in prison.This is because current California law does not take into consideration the consequences or the end result of an incident of child abuse when determining the sentence for the crime. Even if Adam's injuries only resulted in a broken arm or leg, the child abuser's punishment would remain the same.

When I heard about this family's story from Adam's concerned and loving grandparents, I knew action needed to be taken to correct this glaring deficiency in the law. To put an end to this, next year I will be authoring ''Adam's Law'', a measure that will result in longer prison sentences for perpetrators who cause severe and permanent damage to children.

If the child abuser shakes, hits or hurts a child severely, the punishment would be 15 years-to-life. I believe we should stop at nothing to protect our children from harmful and dangerous abusers like Adam's assailant.

I'm proud to stand by Adam's family and work with the Legislature to correct this loophole in our system, bringing justice to more families and most importantly, preventing this from happening to any more children.

To find out more information about Adam Carbajal and learn how you can help the efforts of his family, send an email to

Thursday, April 22, 2010

SBS Awareness Week 2010 - Senate Resolution

Another bit of good news from Congress: despite all that's going on (or not) with financial reform, Senator Dodd again sponsored a Senate resolution recognizing SBS Awareness Week 2010.
April 22, 2010


WASHINGTON, D.C. - This week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) designating the third week of April 2010 as National Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) joined Dodd in authoring and introducing the resolution.

Last year, nearly 95,000 children under the age of 1 were victims of abuse and neglect, said Dodd. One form of this abuse is Shaken Baby Syndrome, which often results in severe injury, lifelong disability, and even death. By proclaiming the third week of April to be National Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week, the Senate is doing its part to raise public awareness about this preventable and devastating form of child maltreatment.

In recognition of the need to eliminate child abuse and to raise awareness about the issue, the month of April has been designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month, an annual tradition that was initiated in 1979 by former President Jimmy Carter.

In February, Dodd, along with Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) in the House of Representatives, introduced the Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Act, which would establish a national public health campaign to raise awareness about Shaken Baby Syndrome, encourage prevention programs, provide support to both families affected by abusive head trauma incidents as well as preventative support for parents and caregivers, and review data collection on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

The SBS Prevention Act of 2010

S.3003: A bill to enhance Federal efforts focused on public awareness and education about the risks and dangers associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome. [link to bill]

Sponsor: Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] (introduced 2/4/2010)
Cosponsors: (4) Sen Bayh, Evan [IN], Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH], Sen Cochran, Thad [MS], Sen Johnson, Tim [SD]
Committees: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Major Action: 2/4/2010 Referred to Senate committee.
Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

H.R.4642: Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Act of 2010 [link to bill]

Sponsor: Rep Lowey, Nita M. [NY-18] (introduced 2/22/2010)
Cosponsors: (None)
Latest Major Action: 2/22/2010 Referred to House committee.
Status: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pepsi Refresh Project: Fund Prevent Child Abuse Iowa

Good News: Prevent Child Abuse Iowa is still in the running for Pespi funding of a statewide SBS prevention initiative.

Not So Good News: PCA Iowa is still ranked #45. What better way to celebrate SBS Awareness Week than voting - and you can vote once a day, until April 30.

Link to PCA Page -

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ohio Reflections: Jada Ruiz, Aiden Stein and Bill Spicer

The Akron Beacon Journal reports on Jada Ruiz, a six month old girl in intensive care at Akron's Children's Hospital.

Her injuries are so severe that her mother wants to release her from life support, but her father, who is accused of inflicting the injuries, is battling to keep Jada on life support.

A sad story, and one that brought to mind the case of Aiden Stein, and the legal battle about whether he should be allowed to remain on life support. When the petition to remove life support is heard by Judge Bill Spicer, it will undoubtedly remind him of Aiden Stein: he was also the judge in that case.

Despite dire predictions, he survived. In 2009, a follow up story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported he was alive and responsive to stimuli. There are no good consequences when a child is shaken: cases such as these simply emphasize the importance of prevention.

Whatever happened to Aiden Stein, who was in a coma in Akron after being assaulted by his father?

The Mansfield boy will celebrate his sixth birthday Oct. 27.

Aiden was supposed to be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state after his father severely shook and abused him in 2004 when he was 5 months old. Experts thought he would require life support -- including breathing tubes -- for the rest of his life. And they thought he wouldn't live long.

"This is the kid experts said was deaf, blind and would remain in a permanent vegetative state," said Dale Musilli, the child's court-appointed lawyer. "He responds to sound, he responds to light."

aiden-stein-shaken-baby-123004.jpgAiden Stein)

"This kid has had some serious medical episodes. He's a tough little guy and has pulled back each time," Musilli said.

Friday, April 16, 2010

IL: Mentos, Guinness and SBS Awareness

The Danville Commercial News reports on a school board meeting that involves Mentos, Guinness and SBS Awareness. Sounds like these middle school students in Danville and Reagan's Rescue are doing a great job of raising awareness!

So, how often do you get a chance to support a Guinness world's record AND increase awareness of SBS...

Board members also heard from a long line of student Problem Solvers from North Ridge Middle School. One by one, students told of their “I Will Prevent It” campaign for Shaken Baby Syndrome, which was awarded first place in state competition.

The students announced they would have another fundraiser for Reagan’s Rescue with a second attempt to break the Guinness World Record for Mentos geysers. An attempt at the 1,900 person record failed in January as 500 showed up in poor weather, but the students have taken their second try a step further by aiming for 2,500 geysers.

Students said in January they were disappointed they didn’t make the record but were buoyed by the fact they had raised awareness for their cause.

Geysers are created when a Mentos tab is dropped in a soda bottle with the ensuing fizz directed 10 feet into the air through a tube.

Organizers hope to employ area school districts to help with the record and the cost has been dropped from $10 to $2 in the second go-around due to leftover supplies from the first attempt.

The new world record attempt will take place at 1:30 May 13 at the WDAN radio station, 1500 N. Wabash St. Participants are asked to arrive at least an hour early and a rain date of May 17 has been set.

The Problem Solvers are also hoping the community supports a fundraiser to help the group attend an international competition in June.

To make a donation or participate in the geyser event contact sponsor Lori Woods at or 444-3456

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

VT: Incidence of SBS rising (Vermont Public Radio)

Vermont Public Radio interviewed the coordinator of the SBS Prevention Program sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse VT...

Link to listen to interview

Officials aren't quite sure why, but cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome are on the rise in Vermont. Prevent Child Abuse Vermont started keeping track of cases in the fall of 2007. Since then, there have been 19 cases. Six have resulted in the death of an infant.

Kay Shangraw is a registered nurse and she's also the program's Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Coordinator. Shangraw visited us in our VPR studios to speak with Mitch Wertlieb.

Shangraw described the injuries seen from abusive head trauma-the medical term for what can happen from less than ten seconds of shaking.