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Senate Supports National Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week

On April 7, the Senate approved, by unanimous consent, a resolution (S. Res. 439) designating the third week of April 2006 as “National Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week.”

Sponsored by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), the resolution contains a number of findings, including:

  • The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System estimates that almost 900,000 children in the United States were victims of abuse and neglect in 2002, causing unspeakable pain and suffering to our most vulnerable citizens;
  • Children under the age of one accounted for 41.2 percent of all child abuse and neglect fatalities in 2002;
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that an average of 300 children in the United States will die each year, and 600 to 1,200 more will be injured as a result of Shaken Baby Syndrome;
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome often results in permanent, irreparable brain damage and death to an infant and could result in more than $1 million in medical costs to care for a single, disabled child in just the first few years of life; and
  • Education programs have been shown to raise awareness and provide critically important information about Shaken Baby Syndrome to parents, caregivers, daycare workers, child protection employees, law enforcement personnel, health care professionals, and legal representatives.Explaining that prevention is “the most effective solution to ending Shaken Baby Syndrome,” Sen. Dodd stated, “It is clear that the minimal costs of educational and prevention programs may help to protect our young children. Families as well as professionals who care for children must be made aware of the injuries that shaking can cause. In 1995, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect recommended a universal approach to the prevention of child fatalities that included services such as home visitation by trained professionals or paraprofessionals, hospital-linked outreach to parents of infants and toddlers, community-based programs designed for the specific needs of neighborhoods, and effective public education programs.”
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