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News Release    

April 14, 2003

County Executive Declares April Week
 to be
‘Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week’

Dutchess County Executive, William R. Steinhaus, proclaimed April 20th thru April 26th to be ‘Shaken Baby Awareness Week’ in Dutchess County. The County Executive said, “Prevention programs have been proven to raise awareness in parents, caregivers, daycare providers and others regarding ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’. The most effective way to end “Shaken Baby Syndrome’ is by preventing such child abuse from happening through educational and preventive programs.”

‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’ is a serious and clearly definable form of child abuse, and it doesn’t happen to just babies. Shaking an infant, even up to age five, damages their brain and causes death or serious injuries. Shaking a baby is actually more likely to cause brain injury than hitting the baby with the same force. Infants and children up to five years old are extremely vulnerable to injuries from shaking, because their neck muscles are not strong enough to control the motion of their head. When they are shaken, their heads wobble rapidly back and forth and their brain hits the inside of the skull. The brain and blood vessels of a baby are extremely fragile and easily damaged by whiplash motions such as shaking, jerking or jolting. The results are that one of every four shaken babies will die and two out of every four who live will suffer from brain injuries causing coma, paralysis, seizures or blindness.

“Our children are Dutchess County’s greatest resource for the future and their health and safety will continue to be a top priority. The Public Health Nursing staff of our Dutchess County Health Department have worked on two community initiatives during 2002 teaching stress reduction behaviors to parents to prevent ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’,” the County Executive noted.

Each year throughout the United States as many as 3,000 children are diagnosed with ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’.


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