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G408(P) Shaken Baby Syndrome: What Do Irish Parents Know?
  1. AK Mann1,
  2. B Rai2,
  3. F Sharif2,
  4. C Vavasseur1
  1. 1Department of Neonatology, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics, Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, Ireland


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.


  1. 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.

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