Saturday, May 21

Video: Government launches awareness campaign on ‘shaken baby syndrome’

Through the baby monitor, a baby’s cries are drowned out by the cries of his exasperated father. “I’m fed up, you’re ruining my life! […] I can’t take it anymore!” Then the silence… and the numbers: a child is a victim of shaken baby syndrome every day in France. In one out of 10 cases, he will die. With this chilling video spot, the government wants to raise awareness among the French.

This sequence is at the center of a broader campaign, launched this Monday, January 17 and which will be available on Youtube, on the “replay” platforms of the major television channels and on social networks.

At the same time, the Secretary of State for Children and Families, Adrien Taquet, is going to the Lille University Hospital on Monday to visit the maternity ward and a neurosurgery department. In particular, he must talk to the families of the victims.

The objective of this awareness device is to remind that shaking a baby to silence him constitutes serious mistreatment which can lead to serious consequences, even death.

Serious brain damage

This action causes brain damage in children which, when not fatal, causes intellectual, visual or motor impairments, as well as behavioral, speech or attention problems.

Data show that several hundred children fall victim to this syndrome each year, with incidence peaking in those aged two to four months. In 2017, the High Authority for Health (HAS) published a report showing that the babies concerned were shaken ten times on average.

These jolts “are gestures of extreme violence which have nothing to do with a clumsy gesture of everyday life, nor with play, like throwing a child in the air”, specifies Anne Laurent-Vannier, who has chaired the working group devoted to this disorder within HAS.

Also, “preventive solutions” are integrated into the system devised by the government. Adults who are losing patience with a baby are advised not to hesitate to ‘ask for help’ and ‘share their fears and doubts’. If anger takes over, specialists recommend laying the child on his back before leaving the room, because “there is no danger in leaving him alone in this position”.

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