FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2000
Austin, TX--After passing legislation last session to add Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) prevention training to existing child care training, state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D Brownsville now expresses his support and appreciation to the Children's Trust Fund of Texas Council for the $10,000 grant recently awarded to Cameron and Hidalgo counties.
Senate Bill 558, passed by Sen. Lucio during the 76th Legislative Session, increased the training requirements that child care providers must receive on the causes of SBS, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and infant brain development. These requirements are now rolled into the current training required of child care workers. SBS is a serious condition caused by shaking an infant or child by the arms, legs, or shoulders with or without impact to the head. A baby's brain and blood vessels are not yet developed and their neck muscles are weak, making them vulnerable to whiplash motions. Shaking a young child is a serious form of child abuse and can cause irreversible brain damage, blindness, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, spinal cord injury, seizures, learning disabilities and even death.
The new Shaken Baby Syndrome Child Abuse Prevention Program will be administered by AVANCE. Supported by the Texas Legislature since 1995, AVANCE is a private, non-profit organization, whose main purpose is to strengthen and promote families by providing "core" parenting services benefitting some of the state's most disadvantaged Hispanic families with young children that also represent the state's fastest growing population.
"We're very pleased that the Rio Grande Valley was selected as one of the sites for awareness of Shaken Baby Syndrome," said Raquel Oliva, executive director of the Rio Grande Valley Chapter of AVANCE. "Our purpose at AVANCE is to raise awareness among anyone who takes care of children about the need to be careful not to inadvertently injure a child through violent shaking. People need to be aware of how children can be damaged."
Ms. Oliva went on to explain that SBS doesn't just occur as deliberate abuse from anger. She said that often adults or even children may play too roughly with a baby without thinking it could be dangerous. People generally just see the baby as having fun, but sometimes injury can occur, for example, from tossing a baby in the air. "But it isn't fun when the playing can result in a serious accident and permanently injure the baby," she explained. "We need to take care of our children and make people aware."
Sen. Lucio added, "I am pleased to see that my legislation will have a direct impact on saving the lives of children through appropriate training and awareness within our Valley community. AVANCE is a wonderful program that will provide SBS information, education and instruction to parents and care givers, as well as train promotoras (health educators), home visitors, outreach workers and health professionals."
For more information people can call the AVANCE Rio Grande Valley Chapter at 956 618-1642.