The Iowa Department of Public Health has unveiled a new program that seeks to educate new parents about shaken baby syndrome and how to prevent it. Des Moines doctor, Rizwan Shah, says they can’t single out exactly who might be the most likely to shake a baby. Shah says the medical research does not indicate a specific profile of those who would shake a baby.
“We do know that this is something that is never premeditated, people are not thinking about doing that, but it is that instant reaction, impulsive action that can affect anybody,” Shah says. Shah is the Medical Director of the Regional Child Protection Center at Blank Children’s Hospital where victims of shaken baby syndrome often end up for treatment. Shah says they do have some evidence about the worst cases.
Shah says they know in the “abusive head trauma” cases that 83% of those cases, where the child had a head injury that was intentional or shaken injuries, they were caused by the male care provider. Shah says that shows a need to get this program a wider reach.
Shah says many time protective programs are aimed at women, because they most often are bringing kids in for doctor visits. She says they would like to see this program shown to dads and other male care providers so it will be more effective. Shah says it’s hard to say how much harm it takes to cause severe injury to a child.
Shah says that is why the medical community is using the term “abusive head trauma” in describing injuries to children, because these kind of questions cannot be answered. She says the research models show it is just not the force of the injuries, but the movement and stretching that causes injuries to a child’s brain.
This new program includes a D-V-D and booklet that gives information on babies and why they cry in an effort to helping parents reduce stress. The information is going to be given out to parents in hospitals 12 central Iowa counties before those parents take their newborns home.