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Make a "Crying Plan" to Prevent Shaking Injuries

PHOTO: Every new parent should make a "crying plan" in order to prevent shaking a baby out of frustration. Photo credit: Microsoft Images.
PHOTO: Every new parent should make a "crying plan" in order to prevent shaking a baby out of frustration. Photo credit: Microsoft Images.
October 28, 2014

BOISE, Idaho - Everyone knows babies cry, but some babies cry more than others. While covering basic needs can calm an infant, it's not always that simple.

With the unpredictability of a crying child in mind, a collaboration of children's advocacy groups has unveiled the Crying Plan. The idea is for all parents to print out a list of tips for dealing with an incessantly crying child before they, or a caregiver, becomes frustrated.

Brandi Whaley, executive director of Shaken Baby Prevention of Idaho, says Shaken Baby Syndrome is entirely preventable.

"The crying plan is the best way we can address shaken baby prevention, because we know crying is the number one trigger to shaking a child," says Whaley.

The Crying Baby Plan website provides calming techniques, along with a form to fill out for how to cope in situations when a baby will not stop crying, such as listing names and phone numbers of friends who are willing to come over and help.

Whaley says as the parent of a "high cryer" herself, she understands the importance of having a plan in place that is shared widely so parents and others taking care of babies will know what to do.

"The baby might be crying for hours on end, but if you can't handle it, it's okay to set the baby down and walk away for a while," she says. "No baby has died from crying, but babies die from being shaken."

The campaign lists shaking as the number one preventable cause of childhood death for children under the age of one. Even when shaking does not result in death, it can cause blindness, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities.

New parents in select hospitals will begin receiving Crying Plan information starting next week. The collaboration includes the Idaho Children's Trust Fund, the American Academy of Pediatrics-Idaho Chapter and Family Advocates.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID