MARCH 1998 - APRIL 2006
BEYOND CHILD ABUSE MONTH
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
(Originally developed for Army Family Advocacy Programs worldwide)
BETTER THE BABY CRY THAN THE BABY DIE
As we all know, one of the key messages about Child Abuse Prevention Month is: "Make it last all year long!" Nowhere is this message more important than in the case of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
At Cornell University in 1998, Dorothy Forbes, Tom Hanna, Kristie Lockwood, and Jane Powers collaborated to develop what we hope is a useful campaign that can be implemented on an ongoing basis. What you find here may not be new to some of you. Many installations have used some these techniques and messages in their programs, and in collaboration and cooperation with FCS and MWR personnel -- those who have access to the first time parents and to the caretakers of infants. We have packaged materials that encompass many of the best ideas we were able to find. In the meantime, Tom Hanna and the Child Abuse Prevention Network continue a commitment to maintaining and updating these resources.
Based on discussions with some of you, and with many other professionals -- especially physicians in the civilian sector -- we are convinced that SBS prevention has to happen for each new generation of parents and babysitters. And that "new generation" happens every 18 months!
On the bottom line, mothers are the gatekeepers for the safety of their infants. Although we recognize the importance of fathers, and the dual responsibilities of parenting, we have targeted the enclosed materials primarily towards mothers.
But the whole community needs to share the message. So we built the package with the intent that FAP, FCS, MWR and Command would be the primary channels of delivery, and that briefings with the troops would be included in the delivery system.
This SBS campaign can be started any time. While it needs to reach every new parent, and every new babysitter, the overall campaign will work best if it is repeated every year. Everyone in the child abuse field should be advocating for prevention of SBS, and the campaign must go on day after day and year after year. The obvious messages need to be in all the media all the time. Our Parent and Babysitter Pledgecards say it all.
Good luck on a successful Child Abuse Prevention Month -- one that lasts all year long! I hope that the materials we have sent you since November serve you and your community well.
Marney Thomas, Project Director
Tom Hanna, Prevention Planner