Showing posts from 2009

To the MySpace "Friends of Kaleb" - Some Thoughts and a Challenge

The unprecedented outpouring of deep-felt concern from MySpace members to Kaleb Schwade, a young infant and victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome, has left me once again with a strange mix of both sadness and excitement. Sadness because since the late 80s when our child abuse prevention organization, Massachusetts Citizens for Children, first began educating parents and professionals about the problem, too many other SBS victims' names have crossed my desk .... Patrick, 6 months old, Boston; Natalie, 5 months, Brockton; Josh, 3 months, Dracut; Theresa, 2 months, Worcester; Harry, 4 months, Framingham; Jack, 1 month, Holyoke; Adam, 2 months, Leominster; Melissa, 3 months, Lynn; Frank, 6 months, Brighton; Heather, 3 months, Rockport; Michael, 2 months, Holden; Patricia, 1 month, Springfield . . . Behind each name is the story of a child's broken trust and a parent or caregiver's broken promise to care for and protect. Each name tells a story of frustration escalating to anger a

How could anyone do this to a child?

I regularly receive calls from reporters covering stories about shaken babies. The questions are always the same. How could anyone do this to a child? How can these tragedies be prevented? Here are some facts everyone should know: The most frequent trigger involved in these shaking incidents is infant crying and fussiness. All of us, whether we are parents or not, have likely experienced that physical gut-wrenching reaction when we hear a baby's sharp or constant cry. It commands our immediate attention. Mother Nature intended it to be like that to give babies a way to ensure their survival. If they only wimpered softly when they needed to be fed, or were cold and wet, or needed to feel close to us, adults might not respond and babies' critical needs might not be met. Some people manage to cope well when confronted with a fussy, crying infant or child particularly when they have the support of their spouse, partner, or other family and friends. But others, particularly those