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Month of the Military Child observes Shaken Baby Syndrome

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Eielson AFB is a community that cares about its families, and once again joins together to celebrate April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Department of Defense is launching a department-wide campaign to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome in collaboration with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome in observation of this month.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is sometimes referred to as traumatic brain injury. This is a violent form of abuse that occurs when an infant or young child is shaken or shaken and impacted against a hard or soft surface. The shaking may only last a few seconds, but can cause severe brain damage and even death. Shaken Baby Syndrome usually occurs when a frustrated caregiver loses control with a crying baby. SBS causes death or severe disability in 1,200 to 1,400 children in the U.S. annually, including approximately 30 military dependents.

Most babies go through a period when they cry a lot. This usually occurs around two to three months of age and these infants can cry upwards of two to three hours throughout the day. It is important for all parents and caregivers to realize that they are not bad caregivers or that you are doing something wrong because your baby is crying. Crying is a perfectly healthy part of your baby's development. So, what can be done when your infant is in this fussy period?

First, make sure all of your baby's basic needs are met such as food, diapering and sleep.
You can walk or rock baby, use a front pack for comfort, try a stroller outing, or go for a ride in the car. If none of these work to comfort your child, and you've done everything you can, remember it is OK to let your baby cry.

Place the baby in a safe area such as a crib or playpen, and leave the room for a few minutes checking back periodically, giving yourself time to de-stress and relax. It is fine to let your baby cry, but it is NEVER OK to shake a baby. If you feel isolated or frustrated with parenting, or just need someone to talk to, the New Parent Support Program is here to help with our full time staff. Should you need more information please call 377-4042. 

*take care of the immediate needs of your child
*try walking, rocking, or swaddling your infant
*have a PLAN for these fussy periods
*place baby in a safe place
*give yourself time to relax and de-stress
*call a friend to watch your child
*take a bath *read a book * exercise
*phone a friend or relative *vacuum
*make a cup of tea *try slow deep breathing
REMEMBER, it is OK to let a baby cry, but it is never OK to shake a baby!