Tips to Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome

Share these tips with everyone who will be caring for your child. Make sure they know that it's never okay to shake a baby.


Managing Stress

Even the most patient parents get stressed when dealing with infants who need their constant care and attention. Here are some ways to help you cope when you feel your stress level increasing.

  • Walk away. Put the baby in a safe place, like a crib. Leave the room. It's okay to let the baby cry. Check in every 10 - 15 minutes.
  •  Move your body. Regular exercise releases endorphins, a chemical in the brain that can improve your mood and make your feel less stressed.
  •  Breathe deeply. Taking slow, deep breaths can help slow your heart rate and reduce tension.
  •  Make time for yourself.  A baby requires a lot of attention. You need attention too. Set aside time each week to do something that is just for you.
  •  Smile. Studies have shown that smiling and laughing actually makes you feel better.
  • Keep a journal. This can help you express your thoughts privately and get things off your chest.
  • Call a friend. You are not alone. Calling a friend allows you to vent when you get frustrated.
  • Ask for help. If you need help, ask. Friends, neighbors, relatives and professionals are great resources when things get tough.  Make a list of people you can reach out to if you need a break. Post it some place you can see every day.

Soothing a Crying Baby

  • Plan ahead. Learn ways for safely dealing with a crying baby. Make a list of support people you can call if and when you need help.
  • Start by checking the basics: Is the baby wet? Hungry? Thirsty? Too warm? Too cold? Lonely? Meeting these basic needs will often stop the crying.
  • Don't take it personally. All babies cry. Some cry inconsolably for hours. It's not your fault.
  • Is the baby sick? Check the baby's temperature. Does she have a fever? Is there vomiting or diarrhea? If so, call the baby's doctor.
  • Stay calm and speak softly. The baby may feel your calmness and become quiet. Lower any surrounding noise or lights.
  • Wrap the baby snugly in a warm, soft blanket. Gently rub or tap the baby's back.
  • Gently rock or dance with the baby. Try putting the baby in a baby swing or bouncy seat.
  • Walk the baby. Take the baby for a walk in the stroller or a ride in the car (in a car seat).
  • Sing or talk to your baby in a quiet, sing-song way. Turn on soft music or run the vacuum. Babies like consistent, rhythmic noise.
  • Call someone you trust to care for the baby while you take a break. It's okay to take time for yourself. It's good for you and good for your baby.
  • When nothing else works. Put the baby down in a safe secure place such as a crib, lying safely on his or her back. Close the door and leave the room. Lower the lights. Check on the baby every 5-10 minutes.

Family Services Division (FSD)

Deputy Commissioner Karen Shea
DCF - Family Services Division
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT - 05671-1030
Phone:(802) 241-2131

http://dcf.vermont.gov/fsd

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