by Renee Murphy
December 7, 2010
Shaken baby syndrome is the number one cause of death for Kentucky infants. Police say the victim in the most recent case was shaken so badly, he was near death when he was taken to the hospital. The child’s father has admitted to getting frustrated and shaking the baby because he wouldn’t stop crying. It’s a scenario seen before, but now pediatric specialists with the University of Louisville and advocates at Kosair Children’s Hospital are stepping in to try and prevent other cases.
Those with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Department say 5-month-old Bentley Barnett nearly lost his life after being severely shaken on two separate occasions. Police have charged the infant’s father, Jeffrey Barnett, with the assault.
The baby has broken ribs and suffered brain bleeds. He’ll survive, but could have long term complications. Bentley Barnett is still being cared for at Kosair and is expected to be released from the hospital this week.
Kentucky ranks first in the country for the number of shaken baby cases, which is why Kosair and University of Louisville have teamed up for a shaken baby prevention program for new parents when the leave the hospital. The program launched this summer. In 2007, Kentucky had the highest number of deaths from child abuse in the country. Those involved in the new program say if you see a baby younger than 6-months-old with any type of bruising, there has probably been abuse in the home.
In May, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed a bill that would increase prevention measures in the state to reduce the number of shaken baby cases. Over 3,500 parents have taken part in the shaken baby prevention program through Kosair and U of L.