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Counseling to Mothers Against too Much Shaking of Children

The National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda in Maryland, USA, has launched a major initiative against the Shaken Baby Syndrome. //

It is now calling upon all mothers who deliver their babies at the Centre to attend a mandatory series of Shaken Baby Syndrome educational briefings.

Shaking a baby too hard could result in permanent danger or even death to infant, experts point out.

Nearly 70 percent of shaken baby syndrome cases are caused by fathers or other males, according to Lt. Cmdr. Maile Kalinowski, a 15-year Navy nurse.

Babies who do not feed well or who are born prematurely are at higher risk of suffering from Shaken Baby Syndrome, because they tend to cry a lot more.

Frustrated parents, especially fathers, seem to be more negatively affected by the cries of their babies. They take it out on them, shaking them a bit too hard. They don’t realize the damage they could cause to their children.

Preferably both the mother and father attend the prevention classes together. But if only mothers are sufficiently educated on the dangers inherent in shaking infants too much they could handle crying babies better.

According to the Department of Defense records, there are about 10 to 20 deaths that occur in infants across the military that are caused by Shaken Baby Syndrome. Such acts, even if unpremeditated, constitute child abuse. Hence the persons concerned could be sent to jail, authorities warn, indicating the seriousness of the problem in the military.

The mandatory educational briefings are conducted before the birth of the baby, soon after, and again a third time at a later outpatient check-up.

"We call it an immunization, because we try to give (the briefings) at three different times," Kalinowski said, stating that the most effective one is probably given to those parents whose child is approximately two months old.

Most incidents of Shaken Baby Syndrome happe n between four-to-six months of age. So, they've already experienced some of the irritating crying that goes on.

Service members who are returning home after deployments must also attend this class as a part of their debriefing, the hospital stresses.

To avoid the stresses from excessive baby crying, one could play music, take the baby along for a walk or give it a ride in the car, it is suggested. /L

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