Parents to receive info on ‘shaken-baby syndrome’

Health Ministry instructs hospitals to give new parents instructional booklets to increase awareness.

Baby in hospital birth yawn 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Baby in hospital birth yawn 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Soon after having a baby, all parents will receive an informational booklet explaining how to avoid “shaken-baby syndrome” in their infants. The story of four-month-old twins being treated for what police and pediatricians maintain resulted from the new parents shaking the babies caused great shock around the country. The parents of the boy, who is seriously hurt, and the girl, whose condition is improving, say the harm doctors found was due to a congenital disease. Babies with the syndrome exhibit brain damage and/or broken bones.
The outgoing head of the Health Ministry’s medical branch, Dr. Chezy Levy, issued instructions to hospital directors on Thursday that they increase awareness of the danger.
The booklet was edited and produced by the National Council for the Child, headed by Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, who said the rise in shaken-baby syndrome in recent years is worrisome. Usually, the adult perpetrators did not intend to harm the infant but could not cope with incessant crying, lack an understanding of baby care and are exhausted.
The booklet appears in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian but not yet in English and Amharic.
Levy said that dozens of babies die each year as the result of the syndrome.
“There is too little awareness of the syndrome,” he said.
While an older child can suffer no harm from being tossed up or down or back and forth, it can be very harmful for newborns whose neck muscles are weak and whose heads are proportionately large compared to the rest of their body.
Kadman welcomed the ministry’s initiative and said he is convinced that proper education can drastically reduce the number of injuries and deaths from the syndrome. “The violent shaking results from parents’ frustration, fatigue and anger, and they are not at all aware how serious the damage can be in children,” he said.