Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome: How to Calm a Fussy Baby
Even though we all know that babies are supposed to cry, caring for a fussy baby can be frustrating and leave you feeling helpless. Babies cry because of hunger, discomfort, frustration, fatigue and even lonliness. They cry to communicate with us. Sometimes cries can be answered with food or a diaper change, but other times it can be a mystery and seem to go on for a long time. Anyone could be tempted to shake a baby out of frustration - whether he is a parent, close family friend or caregiver. The key is to have a plan in place for coping with the frustration and anger a baby's crying can cause. Learn more at www.calmacryingbaby.org.
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Suggestions on how to calm a baby:
- Take care of physical needs first: feed your baby, burp him, change his diaper
- Check for signs of illness, like fever or swollen gums
- Rock or walk with the baby
- Sing or talk to the baby
- Gently pat or stroke the baby on his back or chest
- Sing or talk to him
- Offer him a pacifier or a noisy toy
- Try swaddling the baby
- Take him for a ride in his stroller or in his car seat in the car
- Turn on some music, or noise like a vacuum cleaner or clothes dryer
If you become angry or frustrated:
- Call a friend or relative for support or to take care of the baby while you take a break
- If you are alone, put the baby down in a safe place, such as a crib, and go to another room for a few minutes; take several deep breaths, calm down and wait 10 minutes before you return to the baby
- Always remember - you should never shake a baby!
Public service announcements brought to you by 9News and Children's Hospital Colorado
Babies are Fragile
Shaken Baby Syndrome is the leading cause of death among child abuse cases in the United States. The syndrome results from injuries received when someone vigorously shakes an infant - usually from 5 to 20 seconds. This can cause severe brain injury and even death. In 2004, Children's Hospital Colorado saw an average of one child a week with signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome – the youngest just 2 weeks old.
Help is Nearby
Children's Hospital Colorado is working to prevent incidences of Shaken Baby Syndrome by joining forces with one of our partners, The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, the experts on child abuse. The Kempe Child Protection Team offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary consultation, assessment, treatment, and referral services for children and adolescents who may have been physically or sexually abused or neglected. The Kempe Center also has resources available to help you prevent shaken baby incidences, identify child abuse, intervene and get treatment. For more information visit The Kempe Center.
Give Your Word
All across Colorado, people have made a plan for what to do when a baby cries. Then, they've given their word to never shake a baby. Join the fight against Shaken Baby Syndrome, and give your word today!
Why did our staff give their word?
Watch a short video about why employees at Children's Hospital Colorado gave their word!