Shaken Baby

Shaken Baby

Pennsylvania Shaken Baby Program

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Saving babies' lives one family at a time.


Pennsylvania Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Program

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is one of the most severe forms of child abuse caused by the violent shaking of an infant with or without impact against an object. Approximately 1/3 of the victims die as a result of direct brain injuries. Thousands of victims who survive suffer permanent neurological damage such as blindness, developmental delays, mental retardation, seizures, physical disabilities, paralysis, and/or brain damage.

Shaken Baby Syndrome usually results from a parent or caregiver shaking a baby because the baby would not stop crying. Since crying is the primary reason that infants are shaken, it is important to inform parents, when their baby is born, how to deal with the frustrations of a crying baby as well as to equip them with effective parenting and coping strategies. Educated parents are then advocates for their child's safety. They are encouraged to share this information with others who may care for their child such as relatives, friends, and childcare providers.

The Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention and Awareness Program was developed in 1998 in Upstate New York by Dr. Mark Dias, MD, Pediatric Neurosurgeon. Since the inception of the SBS program, Upstate New York has reduced the incidence of infant abusive head injuries by nearly 50%. The results of this research project was published in the Journal of Pediatrics in April 2005.  In 2005, the upstate New York Program expanded into Pediatric offices and has shown an additional 10% decrease in infant abusive head injuries.

In 2002, the identical program was started as a pilot study, under Dr. Dias, in central Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Law 2002-176: The Shaken Baby Syndrome Education Act was passed. The program partnered with, and is now funded by, the Pennsylvania Department of Health to expand into 100% of all birthing and children's hospitals in Pennsylvania and in 2004 the name of the program was changed from the Central Pennsylvania SBS Education Program to the Pennsylvania Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention and Awareness Program.

In October 2007, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) awarded the Pennsylvania Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention and Awareness Program a $2.8 million dollar grant to continue the prevention efforts by expanding the education into pediatric and family practice offices in 16 counties in Central Pennsylvania. This "booster" of education is being presented at the 2 month, 4 month and 6 month immunization visits and complements, but does not duplicate, the education provided at the time of the baby's birth. The focus is on infant crying and techniques to assist parents in coping with a crying infant. The study will assess the cost and feasibility of providing this form of education in an outpatient setting. Phase II of the program is funded by the CDC for five years.

The Pennsylvania Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention and Awareness Program provides PNA approved nursing in-services, supplies, educational videos and guidance free of charge. Our goal is to ensure that every parent of every child born in Pennsylvania receives education on shaken baby syndrome!

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Penn State Children's Hospital
600 University Drive, Mail Code G130
Hershey, PA 17033

Pennsylvania Nurse Coordinator

Phone: 717-531-7498
Fax: 717-531-0177

For more information, to schedule a training session, or to receive our quarterly newsletter please contact the Pennsylvania Shaken Baby Syndrome Education Project office at 717-531-7498.