oec: CT Launches Education Effort To Prevent Shaken Baby Tragedies

CT Launches Education Effort To Prevent Shaken Baby Tragedies

Hartford -- A coalition of state agencies and child-care organizations are launching a critical statewide initiative to educate Connecticut parents about the dangers of shaking an infant due to excessive crying.

The Office of Early Childhood, Department of Children and Families and Casey Family Programs along with several other organizations focused on early childhood education, health and safety created materials including posters, wallet cards and social media ads with the campaign slogan “Learn How to Be Chill.” The message targeted to fathers and other male caregivers is to “Stop. Think. Put the baby in a safe place. And Walk Away. Call or Text someone.”

State officials announced details of the Chill Daddy statewide education campaign during a day-long event in Waterbury designed to create awareness of the vital role that fathers and other male caregivers play in the lives of their children. Other “Dads Matter Too” events are being held today in Bridgeport, Hartford, Middletown, New Haven, New Britain, and Danielson. All the sites featured a Dad’s Walk at 11 a.m. to represent the statewide effort at engaging fathers.

“The Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is committed to supporting a safe and healthy environment for all Connecticut children," said Acting Commissioner Linda Goodman. "Our goal is to provide programs and services that help build a strong network of nurturing adults who understand the critical importance of a child's early years. The Chill Daddy campaign addresses that goal by providing education that can ultimately reduce infant and child mortality,” she said.

Studies have shown that educational materials change knowledge and resulting behavior around crying and its impact on shaken baby syndrome. Shaken baby syndrome, or abusive head trauma, is caused by the violent shaking of a child with or without contact between the child’s head and a hard surface. Such contact may result in head trauma, including subdural hematoma, diffuse axonal injury and retinal hemorrhage.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent report that abusive head trauma is a leading cause of child abuse deaths in children under the age of five in the United States and accounts for about one-third of all child maltreatment deaths. The Centers also report that the most common trigger for abusive head trauma is inconsolable crying, and that babies less than one-year old are at greatest risk.

“We know that crying is a common stimulus for shaking,” Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz said. “Crying increases in the first month after birth, peaks in the second month, and decreases by the fourth month. Prolonged, inconsolable and unpredictable episodes of crying that cluster in the evening occur only during the first few months after birth. These episodes are a source of frustration for parents and caregivers. This campaign will help provide education and guidance to parents about the crying and how to take steps to prevent shaken baby syndrome.”

Although Shaken Baby Syndrome is attributed to both males and females, research indicates that perpetrators are most commonly males. The awareness campaign, therefore, targets fathers and males and shows imagery of a loving father or male caregiver and suggests various behaviors to take instead of shaking the crying infant.

“We’re pleased to have been part of this campaign development, particularly because we were able to have a voice for the father’s,” said Anthony Judkins, program manager at the John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative of Connecticut. “Led by the Department of Social Services, we focus on changing the systems that can improve fathers’ ability to be fully and positively involved in the lives of their children. The campaign underscores our efforts to promote public education concerning the emotional responsibilities of fatherhood.”

For more information, please visit ctoec.org/chill

Content Last Modified on 9/19/2016 4:19:12 PM