FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2005
AUSTIN,TX--Yesterday the House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. that adds parent training on the causes and consequences of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) already required for licensed child care providers.
"Senate Bill 316 raises the awareness of the dangers of shaking a baby to the people who may need it the most--the parents of infants and young children," said Sen. Lucio. "I applaud both legislative Chambers for supporting this critical legislation that may save the lives and welfare of countless children in the future."
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a head injury that affects infants, babies and young children when they are severely shaken, usually by parents or care takers. The National Brain Injury Association of America reports that there are an estimated 3,000 cases of SBS per year, and in a quarter of the cases, the child does not survive. In Texas, approximately 34 percent of children who die from abuse or neglect die from injuries sustained while being shaken and beaten.
The bill consolidates information about SBS with that required by the state into one packet for parents of newborn children to receive at hospitals and birthing centers. The Department of State Health Services will also make these materials available in Spanish.
Babies under six months are particularly susceptible to SBS because their neck muscles are too weak to properly support their heads. Furthermore, infants and babies have softer brains, which further their susceptibility to brain injury. The results of SBS may include: rupture of the bridging veins between the cortex and the dura, retinal hemorrhages, seizure, unconsciousness and apnea. The effect of these injuries can be blindness, permanent brain damage and death.
Since 1999, Sen. Lucio has worked with Kathy and Mark Dittman from Harlingen on bills relating to SBS. Maggie, their two-year-old child, died as a result of SBS in 1998. Both of the Dittman's serve on the Governing Board of the Shaken Baby Alliance, a nationwide organization that provides support for families of SBS victims, advocates for justice for SBS victims and increases SBS awareness.
"Raising awareness of SBS among parents and childcare providers can help put an end to these unnecessary and sometimes unintentional tragedies," said Sen. Lucio. "This bill will put us on that path."
Note: Legislative aide Katharine Volti is handling this issue for the Senator and can be reached at 512-463-0127.