joins awareness efforts during Child Abuse Prevention Month
St. Mary’s Hospital is joining the Idaho Perinatal Project and the Idaho Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to reduce child abuse, statewide. During April, Child Abuse Prevention Month, SMH will be sending home newborns with a special T-shirt or onesie and a poem magnet as part of a national effort to prevent child abuse.
The program is designed to raise awareness of shaking baby syndrome and provide parents of newborns with a list of suggestions for when their baby cries. The t-shirts say “Fragile- Handle with Care” and selections from the poem include “…Check to see if the diaper needs changed. Or perhaps a feeding should be arranged. Snuggle your baby and gently rock or take out the stroller and go for a walk. Go for a ride in the family care. Use a car seat, both near and far. Play some soft music, Mozart is nice… If you choose, a pacified might do the trick or call the doctor, if you think baby’s sick. Give baby a back rub, talk with a friend if it seems like the crying will never end.... Yet the crying will stop. You just don’t know when. So be patient, breathe deeply and count to ten. Get someone else to tend your dear little one, while you exercise, shop and have some fun. …sometimes babies cry and that’s all right, both during the daytime and late at night. But even when the crying is hours long. Hurting a baby is always wrong.”
“Being the parent of a newborn can be frustrating because sometimes baby’s only method of communication is to cry. Parents can be tired from lack of sleep and feel as though they’re on an emotional roller coaster, but the important thing to remember is that there is help and it is always better to seek help than to harm or shake a baby in any way,” said Barb Michels, RN, SMHC OB coordinator. “Shaking a baby can cause permanent brain damage and/or death. Everyone in the community needs to make sure this never happens by recognizing that some babies may be at risk. That’s why we are participating in this project and any project that protects the health of our children.”
Each year thousands of Idaho children are victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. To hel prevent this, resources are available through the State of Idaho CareLine, Their phone number is 2-1-1.