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Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome

Governor Steve Beshear held a ceremonial signing on May 27, 2010 of a bill that provides training to strengthen protections for Kentucky’s children and seeks to reduce the threat of child abuse commonly known as “shaken baby syndrome.”  Click here to see the Governor’s news release.  Norton Healthcare and Kosair Children’s Hospital are the pilot program sites.  Results will be reported in October with hopes for future legislation to implement education programs throughout the state.  Of our 1100+ new Norton Advocates, more than 100 contacted legislators about this important children’s issue.  To learn more about community health policy issues, go to and Become an Advocate.   



Event held at Kosair Children’s Hospital to celebrate the efforts of Representative Addia Wuchner and our partner organizations.

Norton Healthcare Pilot Program Update - May 2011

Since the passage of House Bill 285, child advocates have oriented over 300 Norton Healthcare nurses responsible for providing discharge teaching to new parents as they leave the hospital with their newborn.  These nurses attended a 45-minute orientation, watched the “Portrait of a Promise” video that is shown to all parents, and reviewed teaching brochures and discharge instructions for the pilot program.

The pilot program, aimed at teaching all new parents and caregivers the importance of never shaking a baby, started on June 15, 2010.  Since inception, nearly 8,500 parents and/or caregivers at Norton Healthcare facilities have seen the “Portrait of a Promise” video, been instructed on the dangers of shaking a baby, and discussed coping skills and what to do for a baby that does not stop crying.

Partners of Norton Healthcare and Kosair Children’s Hospital are also taking the pilot a step further and reaching out to other Hospitals and asking them to participate. For example, Clark Memorial Hospital in Indiana has taken our lead, trained 60 nurses and began pilot implementation on March 1, 2011. We are actively working with many other Kentucky hospitals to implement the program in their facilities. Norton Healthcare feels so strongly about this program and its benefits that Kosair staff will go so far as to provide services such as nurse orientation, implantation paperwork and education assistance all at no charge.

Also in line with the legislation, Kosair Children’s Hospital (KCH), University of Louisville (UofL) Department of Pediatrics and Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky (PCAK) have created a profession-specific training module for all healthcare professionals named in the bill to receive continuing education on child abuse, specifically pediatric abusive head trauma.  This training is evidence-based, utilizes pediatric and forensic specialist content and varies based on the audience. View a copy of the training schedule.**

** KCH, UofL and PCAK are exploring how to best seek collective copyright of this material with their respective internal personnel.

House Bill 285, sponsored by Rep. Addia Wuchner and many others, will help to lessen pediatric abusive head trauma by means of prevention, awareness and education. The bill, which originated through the efforts of dedicated pediatricians from the University of Louisville who complete training at Kosair Children’s Hospital, recognizes a training and education pilot project which creates a regimen for those who may come in contact with these innocent victims. 

The legislation was supported by:

  • PUSH:  Pediatricians Urging Safety & Health: advocacy group of KY Chapter of AAP
  • Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky
  • Child Abuse Task Force at Kosair Children’s Hospital
  • Kentucky Nurse Association
  • Kentucky State Police
  • Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Community Based Services
  • State Medical Examiner’s Office
  • CASA:  Child Advocates Special Advocates
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice, Department of Corrections
  • Norton Healthcare and Kosair Children’s Hospital and others.

This bill was actually driven by pediatricians who were distraught after treating so many children who had been victims of shaken baby syndrome or Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma (PAHT.)  1 in 3 babies shaken dies, babies that survive being shaken often endure life long injuries.

It was truly a team effort and a great example of the role Norton Advocates played. Hundreds of people contacted state legislators about this bill. Those who signed up as Norton Advocates were able to log onto the website, learn the specifics about House Bill 285, watch an informational video regarding Shaken Baby syndrome, and contact their legislator immediately to express their support of the bill. The response to Norton Healthcare’s call to action on House Bill 285 generated over 100 contacts with legislators in support of the bill.

Norton Advocates Call to Action Video

Therese Sirles discusses shaken baby syndrome.
Director, Children's Hospital Foundation
Office of Child Advocacy

Shaken Baby Syndrome is the #1 cause of death for Kentucky infants.

Get Healthy Television Show
Segment on Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome pilot program
And how general public as advocates were effective in this legislation.

Questions about the pilot program can be directed to Norton Healthcare and Kosair Children’s Hospital at (502) 629-KIDS.


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