- When a caregiver feels frustrated with a baby or a child, take a break. Put the baby in a safe place like a crib or bassinet. Close the door to the room and call a friend.
- Talk with your babysitter about how they should handle crying babies or irritating child behaviors. Give him or her permission to call you when they feel frustrated.
April 12, 2005, six years ago, Michelle Maciosek was at work when she received word that her 9-week-old son, Mason, was shaking violently. She immediately went to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin where Mason was being treated for multiple brain hemorrhages and where it was also reported that his retinas were detached. Unfortunately, upon Michelle’s arrival, Mason was already brain dead, blind, deaf and in a comalike state.
Around 10 p.m. that night, Michelle had to make a decision that no parent should ever have to face. She decided to end his suffering after he was baptized in the hospital. It wasn’t until 5 days later, after the autopsy, that the Maciosek family found the cause of death – shaken baby syndrome. The family’s close friend and babysitter had shaken Mason so hard it eventually led to his death. Michelle Maciosek says:
“Children’s hospital was an amazing help and gave him awesome care. He was baptized and they gave him a blanket and a certificate of baptism for me to take home. Also, about a month later I got a package with a mold of his hand and a footprint in a heart along with about 5 sheets of his footprint and handprint painted on a piece of paper. I was amazed. It was such a kind gesture. I want to do a walk in his memory as his 6-year”angel date” is approaching and give back to Children’s Hospital for all of the care and time that they gave my son. I would like all the proceeds to go to help families that are or have been in my shoes. Shaken baby syndrome is a very serious thing, as you may know.”
Michelle stresses the importance of making sure that families choose their babysitters with great caution. She encourages parents to investigate and pay attention to the personalities and attitudes. “Just because they look good on paper and some people say some good things about them doesn’t mean they can’t eventually snap and do something bad.” Talk to everyone that cares for your child about shaken baby syndrome and how to handle a crying baby. If you are getting frustrated and can’t take hearing a baby cry anymore, put the baby in a safe place, such as a crib, go to another room and breathe. Calm yourself. Call for help.
For more information on the effects of shaken baby syndrome and how to handle a crying baby, visit the Child Abuse Prevention Fund.
The Child Abuse Prevention Fund is a fundraising initiative of Children’s Hospital and Health System. Since 1988, the organization has distributed more than $9.2 million to support community-based child abuse prevention initiatives throughout Wisconsin.
Read more blog posts by Jennifer Hammel.