Thursday, May 06, 2010

Study: Shaken-Baby Cases Rose During the Recession

Time magazine reported that since the start of the current recession there has been a significant increase in cases of shaken baby syndrome, in which young children are shaken violently by an adult. This topic hits close to home for me, so I’d like to take a moment to bring awareness to this real and devastating form of child abuse. Researchers, led by child abuse expert Dr. Rachel Berger at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburg, analyzed 512 cases of head trauma in the children’s centers of four hospitals (in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; and Seattle). They found that the number of cases had increased from 6 per month to 9.3 per month as of Dec. 1, 2007, a rate that had held steady since 2004.

"This is a perfect storm in a bad way, where we have economic stressors that are causing the removal of social-service resources for preventing and addressing child abuse," says Berger. Dr. Berger cautions that her study highlights an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, between the recession and the incidence of shaken babies. But findings such as these are a stark reminder that many stressful circumstances—family tragedy, natural disaster or financial problems may push parents or caretakers to the limits of their coping abilities.

Berger says the findings also serve to highlight the risks of cutting back on social services provided by cities when economic times get tough; these services can educate parents and provide resources to help them cope with the stress, preventing child abuse from occurring.

Please read more about Shaken Baby Syndrome at The Hannah Rose Foundation website,

Read more of the Time article here.

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