The Shaken Baby Prevention Project began in 2002 to raise awareness of the dangers of shaking an infant. Sadly, shaking is a leading cause of injury death in children under twelve months of age.
Kids West have been involved since the beginning of the project and provided the initial financial support needed to make an animated film. The video and related resources were developed to support families through this challenging time in their lives, providing safe strategies for responding to a crying infant and educating on the dangers of shaking a baby.
The video is available in 19 languages, has been evaluated through a research trial and presented at conferences around the world. It is now used as an important resource in 7 countries by parent educators and for personal use by parents and carers.
We were alarmed to learn that in NSW, 20% of our own medical professionals (doctors, nurses and associated medical staff) were not aware of the dangers of shaking a baby or how to identify the warning signs of a shaken infant.
This was identified as part of a research thesis undertaken by Dr Amanda Stephens who studied a number of cases of shaken babies from initial presentation at emergency wards through to the last known contact with these children. Of the cases studied the results were devastating.
’Research shows that almost every victim of inflicted head injury (‘shaken baby syndrome’ and other forms of abusive head trauma) will suffer some form of brain injury. This results in a range of disabilities with some children wheelchair-bound and completely dependent on caregivers for all their daily needs whilst other others experience academic difficulties. Importantly, even those with no other disability are likely to have problems with cognitive issues causing impulsive behaviour or difficult socialisation.’ – Dr Amanda Stephens
Read more about the shaken baby prevention project on the Children’s Hospital at Westmead website.
We are proud to say the Shaken Baby Prevention Project has been a huge success. Since its launch there has been a 40% reduction in the number of babies being admitted to hospital for shaken baby syndrome in Western Sydney.
So far Kids Wet have contributed over $115,000 to the Shaken Baby Prevention Project. We continue to provide support and resources to the projects ongoing success. In 2013 Kids West were recognised as a Platinum Supporter, with CEO Trevor Oldfield also personally honoured for his contribution to the project.
We can do more
Kids West are now committed to supporting the next phase of the Shaken Baby Prevention Project.
Our aim is to get this valuable program included in every maternity ward in Australia, with all parents benefiting from the video and associated support material.
We want to see this program included in the educational syllabus for all medical practitioners and child support professionals in Australia.
With the help of contacts throughout the community, Kids West are lobbying the government departments and organisations responsible for making these decisions, asking them to include the program where it is most needed. We are committed to doing this one department and one organisation as a time if required, and continue to raise funds for this purpose.