Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin (the Alliance) and the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board (Prevention Board) collaborated to survey agencies in an effort to better understand what methods are utilized to provide infant safe sleep and abusive head trauma/shaken baby syndrome information to parents and caregivers. The anonymous survey was sent to 23 birthing hospitals, Women Infants and Children (WIC) clinics and health departments in Milwaukee County. Participation was voluntary and 16 agencies provided responses.

The results
Infant deaths that occur in unsafe sleep environments, and as the result of abusive head trauma/shaken baby syndrome, can be prevented by sharing prevention information with parents and caregivers. However, these efforts should not rest with one agency. It’s a joint effort and require agencies to consider innovative strategies to reach families and learn how to best support their needs. Parents and caregivers can face many challenges when a baby is fussy and/or does not sleep well, which may lead to co-bedding or abusive head trauma/shaken baby syndrome.

Survey results revealed there is significant room for improvement. For example, most agencies utilize pamphlets and videos to inform families of the risks of unsafe sleep and abusive head trauma/shaken baby syndrome; in some cases information is not provided at all.

At a glance
The Alliance and Prevention Board encourage agencies to consider how this important information can be shared with families in an efficient and effective way. Click here to see the survey results, learn how to access resources, or request training for professionals.

Written by:
Karen Nash, MBA
Program Leader, Injury Prevention and Death Review