What is AHT
Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) can result when a frustrated or angry caregiver shakes a child, usually to stop them from crying. Shaking a baby for any reason can cause severe brain & spinal cord damage, blindness, and even death. Please spread the word & help prevent this tragedy.
Here are 20 Tips to Soothe Your Crying Infant Courtesy of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome:
• Feed your baby. Hunger is often the main reason a baby cries.
• Burp your baby. Gas can be very uncomfortable.
• Swaddle your baby in a lightweight blanket.
• Give your baby a lukewarm bath, under supervision.
• Massage your baby gently on back, arms, or legs.
• Give your baby a pacifier. (Use sparingly!)
• Make eye contact with your baby and smile.
• Kiss your baby.
• Lightly kiss the bottom of your baby’s feet.
• Sing Softly. Lullabies were created because of their effectiveness at calming crying babies.
• Reassure your baby with soft words like “it’s ok.” (This can help comfort both you and your baby during a difficult crying episode.
• Hum in a low tone against your baby’s head.
• Run a vacuum cleaner to create distracting “white noise.”
• Run the dishwasher; more comforting “white noise.”
• Take your baby for a ride in the car, with baby secure in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat.
• Rocking with your baby in a rocking chair can be very relaxing for you both.
• Push your baby in a stroller.
• Place your baby in a baby swing for a slow, rhythmic motion.
• Place your baby underneath a lighted mobile.
• Dance Slowly... and relax!
The list above is not an all inclusive list, as there are many other things you can try to calm your baby’s crying. Remember... while many of these techniques will work most of the time, nothing works all the time and that’s okay; this does NOT mean there’s anything wrong with you or your baby! If you start to become frustrated, it’s time to put your baby down in a safe place, walk away for a few minutes, and calm yourself down a bit.
What is NAT
Non-accidental trauma (NAT) is a leading cause of childhood traumatic injury and death in the United States. It is estimated that 1,600 children died from maltreatment in the United States in 2015. Nearly 700,000 children are abused in the US annually. The youngest children are the most vulnerable. In the first year of life, 24.2 per 1,000 children are abused in the national population (National Children’s Alliance, 2015.). NAT can result from hitting, kicking, or striking a child with an object. It can also occur when a frustrated or angry caregiver shakes a young child, usually to stop them from crying. At least ½ of the American public doesn’t know that shaking a baby can cause severe and permanent injury. 10% of the children currently enrolled in NMSBVI’s preschool are the victims of non-accidental trauma from adult anger. Non-Accidental Trauma is 100% preventable.
Long-term effects of Non-Accidental Trauma:80% of those who survive this abuse are often faced with life-long disabilities that can include:
• Visual impairment/blindness as a result of injuries to retinas, optic nerves, or the brain.
• Cognitive impairment
• Physical impairment
• Seizure disorder
• Learning disabilities
• Behavior Disorders
• Cerebral Palsy
• Speech Disabilities
• 25% die as a result of injuries
Help Raise Awareness
NMSBVI continues its effort to increase public awareness about Non-Accidental Trauma. “Handle with Care” is the message the school has adopted as its awareness campaign in support of this cause:Posters are available in both English and Spanish. Cards containing 20 tips to SootheYour Crying Child (tips courtesy of the National Center on Shaken BabySyndrome) accompany these posters.Many of the NMSBVI school vehicles display the “Never Shake a Baby”bumper sticker. If you would like to join the effort by displaying the bumper sticker or hanging up a poster, please contact the NMSBVI Early Childhood staff listed on the following page.
NMSBVI Awarded Community Foundation Support
The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico has awarded NMSBVI funding to support our “Never Shake a Baby” program. The program was developed to increase the awareness and to prevent Non-Accidental Trauma (NAT). Every year we see children who are blind or visually impaired and have developmental disabilities as a result of NAT.Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article.
For more information, please contact:
Andrea Montano, Developmental Vision Specialist
Luanne Stordahl, Developmental Vision Specialist
Zelfa Sandoval Sweeney, Developmental Vision Specialist
University of New Mexico Hospital
Below are Websites with additional information:
Disclaimer: The above links will take you to external agency sites that may not be easily accessible for blind or visually impaired users.