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The Alberta SBS Prevention Campaign

The Alberta Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Network (currently known as the Alberta Network for Safe and Healthy Children) was formed to guide and implement a SBS prevention campaign for Alberta. The provincial network consists of stakeholders from a variety of disciplines, including health, social work, enforcement, government, childcare, and high-risk community outreach. A campaign and campaign materials were developed based on a review of both the literature and the existing programming for Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention in North America [4]. All campaign resources were pre-tested in different regions throughout Alberta. The result is a campaign that aims to build assets among parents and other caregivers by:

  • increasing knowledge about crying and Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • increasing skills for soothing infant crying
  • increasing skills for managing caregiver frustration
  • increasing emergency planning and help-seeking behaviours

The asset building approach is more engaging and less threatening than just focusing on the frightening topics of Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse. Another benefit of the asset building approach is that caregiver coping skills are transferable to other stressful times. Inconsolable crying may be one of the first major challenges that many parents and caregivers face, but it will by no means be the last stressful situation they experience with children. Through the various resources, the campaign aims to communicate six key messages to the target groups:

  • All babies cry
  • It is more important to stay calm than to stop the crying
  • It's OK to ask for help
  • Never shake a baby for any reason
  • Take a break, don't shake
  • Know you can trust your baby's caregiver

Campaign resources were developed with the needs of different target groups and service providers in mind. Campaign materials and messages can be incorporated into the work of professionals and volunteers in many different sectors.

In order for the Alberta campaign to be a success, implementation at the community level is essential. We all have a role in the prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome. What role will you play?

We can all be part of the network that supports parents and other caregivers with the challenges of child care. Start thinking about what role might be applicable to you and your work.

  • Could you promote the campaign messages and distribute the resources among your clients, colleagues and community?
  • Could you teach others about coping with crying and SBS prevention?
  • Could you join the Provincial Network or a local committee? We encourage you to support SBS Prevention in Alberta by joining the Alberta Network for Safe and Healthy Children to help guide initiatives, help with resource distribution and sustain this important prevention effort. Or, find out if there is a local group that you can collaborate with on implementing SBS prevention.

For a diagram outlining different roles in SBS prevention, click here. For a suggested list of who has a role in the prevention of SBS, click hereClick here to view a Professional Development Session on the following topics (be patient it takes a moment to load):

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Risk factors
  • The link between crying and shaking
  • What constitutes normal infant crying
  • Alberta SBS Prevention Campaign and resources