Designing a Shaken Baby Syndrome Intervention for Your Community...

Because you work with the people in your county every day, you probably have some great ideas about how to educate your community members about Shaken Baby Syndrome. You can tailor our materials to make them appropriate for the groups you are working with, or use the resources in this toolkit to create your own education materials. Most perpetrators of Shaken Baby Syndrome weren't intending to hurt or kill the baby, and did not realize that their actions would have that effect. This means that educating people about what SBS is and how it is caused is an important part of prevention. Additionally, making sure that caregivers know how to cope with a crying baby, and that it is okay to put the baby in a safe place and take a break to calm down, will help prevent adults from becoming so frustrated that they physically harm a child.

New York State law requires that all hospital maternity wards offer new parents the opportunity to view a video on shaken baby syndrome. However, some families choose not to watch the video, and fathers and caregivers aren't always present in the hospital when a child is born. This means it is important to educate the whole community about Shaken Baby Syndrome- it will save lives!

Step 1- Choose Your Target Audience.

Based on what you know about your community, choose what type of people you want your intervention to reach. This will help you to create a plan that will be engaging and appropriate for this group. Some target groups for SBS education are:

  • Young men
  • New parents
  • Day care providers and babysitters
  • Future parents
  • Doctors and nurses

Step 2- Choose Your Method.

There are lots of different ways to get the Shaken Baby Syndrome information to your target population, and the best method will depend on who you are trying to reach. For example, if you are targeting high school students, a good strategy might be to give a presentation during a school assembly or health class. If you are targeting doctors and nurses, you may write an article for a hospital employee newsletter. Some different methods for communicating SBS information are:

  • Presentations (sample PowerPoint slides included with this toolkit)
  • Letters to the editor (sample included with this toolkit)
  • Newspaper articles
  • Conversations with parents (such as during Early Intervention or Maternal & Child Health visits)
  • Public Service Announcements

Step 3- Reach Out to Community Partners.

Partnering with other organizations in your county can be a helpful way to spread information, either by asking if you can do a presentation for their group, or by enlisting them to pass on SBS prevention information. Some potential partners are:

  • Schools
  • Cooperative Extensions
  • Faith Based Organizations
  • Doctors Offices
  • Hospitals
  • Local Media (Newspapers, Radio & Television Stations)