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Knowing The Legislative Focus

Legislative Focus

Many states have developed legislation that add forcefully shaking a child to the list of acts and behaviors that are punishable under child abuse law. It is often difficult to successfully diagnose Shaken Baby Syndrome because it frequently resembles other types of diseases, and therefore, it may be difficult to know who was responsible for the damage that may occur. Also, it is possible for individuals to create falsified stories regarding how the child sustained the injuries, such as claiming that they fell down the stairs.

It may be difficult to determine whether the injuries that a child has been inflicted with were accidental or a result of forceful shaking. Because of this, many states have begun to focus on education as a way to decrease the instance of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Many states have developed child abuse laws that require parents to be educated about Shaken Baby Syndrome. In some states, child abuse laws require that doctors speak to the soon-to-be parents about both the causes and the effects of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Doctors will inform parents of the long term damage that can result from shaking an infant. They will be required to help parents to understand how the injuries that are sustained from this type of abuse can affect the rest of the child's life.

Some of these states have developed child abuse law that requires doctors and nurses to educate parents about a few acceptable and effective methods of coping with stress and frustration. Speaking with a medical professional will help a parent to become prepared for the frustration of parenting and will assist them in devising a plan to deal with this frustration in a non-aggressive manner.

Once parents are informed about the causes and the irreversible effects of shaking a child, they will be less likely to take part in actions that will subject their child to Shaken Baby Syndrome. Many states have established child abuse law that requires doctors to speak with the parents of a child both before the child is born and before the mother and the child are discharged from the hospital.

These child abuse laws ensure that parents are completely educated about the traumatic effects of inflicting this type of abuse upon a child. Due to this education, if a parent forcefully shakes a child, they do it with the knowledge that their actions could be fatal and they will be held legally responsible for the harm that they have caused an infant.

In many states, child abuse laws require that day care centers thoroughly educate their employees about the life long effects and causes of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Some states have made it mandatory under child abuse law that hospitals require parents to view a video about Shaken Baby Syndrome before they are released from the hospital.

This form of education may be more effective than speaking with a health professional about this type of abuse. A video such as this will often include personal stories and accounts about Shaken Baby Syndrome. This will make the abuse and its consequences real for the parent and they will get to witness the results firsthand.

Some states have chosen to name their child abuse law regarding Shaken Baby Syndrome after a child who has sustained life long injuries due to this type of abuse. For example, the State of Ohio has named this child abuse law "Claire's law" after 11-month-old Claire Fishpaw who was forcefully shaken by her babysitter.

Claire is suffering from irreversible brain damage and the babysitter was convicted of three different charges. These laws which require parental education have greatly decreased the instance of Shaken Baby Syndrome over the last few years.

NEXT: Quick Guide to Varying Definitions of Abuse and Neglect

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