Thursday, 20 January 2011

SBS: Michigan:

Kim Russell:  Jan 17, 2011

Flint police are investigating the death of a 4-month-old girl they say died after her father violently shook her.
It happened Friday afternoon at an apartment in the 2600 block of Ridgecrest Court.  Police tell NBC25 they arrested a 19-year-old father for child abuse. He remains lodged in the Genesee County Jail and is expected to be arraigned Tuesday.
Experts at Genesys Regional Medical Center say this tragic incident is something that they try to prevent. Often shaken baby syndrome happens because a parent is frustrated and trying to stop a baby’s crying.
“Babies start to cry.  It is what they do.  They cry two to three hours everyday,” says Charlotte Mather, Genesys Regional Medical Center Director of Women and Children’s Services. 
 “You just want it to stop, and you make a bad choice with no mal-intent.”
Mather says it only takes five seconds of shaking to do life-long damage, if not death.
That is why she put together a program at the medical center that educates new parents.  All new parents are shown a movie explaining shaken baby syndrome, are given pamphlets on it, and are asked to sign a contract saying they have been taught that shaking a baby can lead to death.
They are also given reading material with suggestions on how to cope with a fussy baby.
Parents are told to ask for help from a friend or family member they trust, so parents can get emotional or physical rest they need to maintain calm.
If they feel they are becoming frustrated they are told to take a time out.
“I can put my baby in a safe environment and walk away until my anxiety goes down, then return and care for the child.”
It is advice that can be life-saving.  An estimated 2,500 babies suffer from shaken baby syndrome.  According to, one in four shaken babies will die from it.

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