How Can Abusive Head Trauma Be Prevented?

How Can Abusive Head Trauma Be Prevented? Anyone can play a role in preventing AHT by understanding the dangers of violently shaking or hitting a baby’s head into something, knowing the risk factors and the triggers for abuse, and finding ways to support families and caregivers in their community.5 The Bottom Line Shaking a baby can cause death or permanent brain damage. It can result in life-long disability. Healthy strategies for dealing with a crying baby include:

 finding the reason for the crying

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 checking for signs of illness or discomfort, such as diaper rash, teething, tight clothing;

 feeding or burping;

 soothing the baby by rubbing its back; gently rocking; offering a pacifier; singing or talking;

 taking a walk using a stroller or a drive in a properly-secured car seat;

 or calling the doctor if sickness is suspected

All babies cry. Caregivers often feel overwhelmed by a crying baby. Calling a friend, relative, or neighbor for support or assistance lets the caregiver take a break from the situation. If immediate support is not available, the caregiver could place the baby in a crib (making sure the baby is safe), close the door, and check on the baby every five minutes.6 If an early childhood educator is growing frustrated with a child’s crying or other behaviors, it’s important that they follow the same advice they would give a parent/caregiver or find a co-worker to relieve them while they calm down.