Aims Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) results in cerebral trauma with many potential sequalae. Creating awareness through education may lead to reduced rates of SBSi. A crying infant is known to be the most common stimulus for SBS. In Ireland, there is a lack of structured education about anti-SBS. We aim to assess parental understanding of SBS and identify knowledge gaps, in the hope to use this information to plan and implement a hospital-based education strategy.
Methods In two independent paediatric hospitals (NMH: National Maternity Hospital and MRH: Midland Regional Hospital) a prospective assessment was carried out over a four-month period. Ethics committee approval was obtained prior to study commencement. Multi-dimensional anonymous questionnaires were distributed to parents (n = 233). Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 21 software and a p-value <0.05 considered statistically significant.
Results Total of 233 participants were included for analysis: n = 114 (NMH), n = 119 (MRH). 54% (n = 62, NMH) and 50% (n = 60, MRH) had never heard of SBS. Of those who had, very few obtained information through a Health Care Provider (0.04% (n = 2) (NMH); 0.07% (n = 4) (MRH)). Majority of parents heard of SBS via the media (94% (47/50) NMH; 86% (47/59) MRH). Nearly all respondents wanted further SBS information, regardless of whether they had prior knowledge of SBS (100% (NMH); 99.2% (MRH)).
Participants wanted information via reading material 61%(NMH) and 59%(MRH). The majority wanted this delivered during the pre-natal period (50%(57/114) NMH; 65%(77/119) MRH). The NMH (51% (58/114)) and MRH (45% (54/119)) cohorts both wanted information delivered by a midwife. Neither parental age or education level, nor number of children present, had no significance if parents knew about SBS or not. Importantly, parents of non-Irish origin were less likely to have heard of SBS compared to those of Irish origin (p = 0.026(NMH), p = 0.020(MRH)).
Conclusion Nearly 50% of all participants had no prior knowledge of SBS, and almost all questioned expressed interest in further information. As reading material was the preferred media, we aim to roll out a “Don’t Shake” campaign in Ireland, and have created a leaflet aimed to address the deficits highlighted by this work.
Barr RG, et al. Effectiveness of educational materials designed to change knowledge and behaviours regarding crying and shaken-baby syndrome in mothers of newborns: a randomised, controlled trial. Paediatrics. 2009 Mar;123(3):972–80.