New ad takes aim at shaken baby syndrome

April 13, 2009 3:00:47 PM PDT
Doctors at Schneider Children's Hospital say for the first time in 25 years, the hospital has created a campaign focused on shaken baby syndrome. They say the reason it comes now is due to fear that stress from the economy may add to an increase in this type of child abuse.The ad, which features a father with his son, reads: "Real men have a soft touch. Never shake a baby." If you haven't seen it yet, there's a good chance you will. The full page ad is running in newspapers. It's also prominently displayed on jumbotrons in Times Square and on posters on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains. In addition, a radio spot is airing this month with the same message.

The massive campaign is sponsored by Schneider Children's Hospital, and it's an attempt to curb the increase in shaken baby syndrome.

"We've had five or six cases in six months. Last year we had one. We need to look into why?" Dr. Fred Bierman said.

Bierman is the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the hospital. He says shaken baby syndrome is a type of inflicted traumatic brain injury that happens when a baby is violently shaken. Just last week, a Port Jefferson, Long Island man was indicted on murder charges for the shaking death of his girlfriend's baby.

"We have to deal with the public, make the public aware of what happens when we are not there to work with the families," Dr. Bierman said.

Alane Fagin, who runs the Long Island non-profit group Child Abuse Prevention Services, applauds the hospital for its unique "in your face" ads on shaken baby syndrome.

"I think nationally, everybody, law enforcement, medical personnel, social service people, they're seeing increases in reports on child abuse and calls for help," Fagin said.

Fagin says national government data will not be compiled for several months to see whether there has, in fact, been an up tick in child abuse. However, officials at Schneider Children's Hospital say their numbers have dramatically risen, and that's what prompted them to take a stand.

WEB PRODUCED BY: Nika C. Beamon, Eyewitness News


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