I was skimming The Aurora Sentinel last week when I came across an impactful article written by Boyd Fletcher on the topic of child abuse. Boyd and I have worked together for the past two years on multiple stories about The Children’s Hospital and it did not come as a surprise to me to see his most recent coverage of a topic that is so important to the folks at The Children’s Hospital.
Unlike many of the other articles Boyd has written, this one was more serious in nature and certainly touched my heart as I am expecting my first baby in July. In all honesty, it is quite difficult to think or even read about the topic of child abuse. It is even more unfathomable to imagine an individual shaking a baby so violently that it could cause permanent brain damage to the baby. I can’t tell you how many of my mommy friends have shared with me all the joys of being a new parent, however, they have certainly been honest and told me it is hard work. Just like my friends have told me, the Web site (dontshakeababy.com) agrees that as a parent, you have limited energy, patience and tolerance, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, helpless and angry by the constant demands of your baby.
However, it is important for all moms to know that is normal to ask for help. In all my parenting classes, all the instructors can’t stress the importance of seeking advice, friends and family support, and just taking a five minute break from the stressful situation. As a mom-to-be, I was thrilled to find the following five tips for consoling a crying baby and already printed off the document and posted it on my frig. A friendly reminder can’t hurt any of us!
· Talk to your child’s doctor. There may be a medical reason why the baby is crying so much · Seek parenting support – Families First offers a 24-hour family support line at 1-877-695-7996 OR call free child abuse hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). These hotlines are free and they will listen to you, offer emergency help, then direct you to local agencies that can help you and answer your questions.
· Call a friend and talk about it
· Let the baby cry it out if you have tried to calm him, but nothing seems to work
· Call the doctor if you think the baby may be sick
For the past three years, The Children’s Hospital, in partnership with The Kempe Foundation for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect and Kohl’s Department Stores, has implemented a Colorado campaign to educate the community about the dangers of shaking a baby and to offer solutions for how to calm a crying baby. A severe form of Child Abuse, about one child per week was admitted to The Children’s Hospital with signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) in 2003.
To learn more about The Children’s Hospital’s efforts to prevent child abuse, visit www.thechildrenhospital.org or read Boyd’s article.