Dear Senator Aanestad:
Re: SB 468 (Padilla) SBS Education -SUPPORT I am writing to request your support for Senator Padilla and Assemblywoman Ma’s SB 468, a bill to reduce the prevalence of shaken baby syndrome in California. The bad news is that California hospitals currently treat about 150 shaken babies every year, at an average cost of around $300,000 per child, most of whom will never again lead normal lives. The good news is that prevention methods exist which can cut the number of victims in half. In fact, they are currently being implemented in many states across the country. In California, it is time to save more lives by expanding access to SBS prevention education.
[Summary of your reason for involvement and why your beliefs or experiences lead you to support SB 468. Mention the city or county you live or work in if it is in the Senator's district] Shaken baby syndrome is the name given to a set of injuries that result from a young child being shaken violently.In a typical scenario, the infant’s caretaker becomes exasperated at the child’s ongoing crying, and shakes the child by the arms or body. As the child’s head whips back and forth, their brain is severely damaged. This is often accompanied by injury to the retina, which may cause blindness, and sometimes by certain broken bones or bruising. In 30% of diagnosed cases, the child dies; among the survivors, 60-75% live with permanent mental and physical handicaps. Most victims are within their first two years of life.
In addition to causing numerous personal tragedies, shaken baby syndrome costs the state of California tens of millions of dollars every year. The vast majority of victims’ immediate and ongoing medical care is covered by MediCal or California Children’s Services; unfortunately, most victims become foster children after they are diagnosed, so the state assumes responsibility for all of their needs. Thus, preventing shaken baby syndrome is both compassionate and fiscally responsible.
The landmark shaken baby syndrome prevention project reduced SBS rates by 55% in 1998-2004. The success of this project, conducted in New York state, was reported in the medical journal Pediatrics. Since then, over a dozen other states have legislated support for similar projects. These programs work by showing new parents a video about shaken baby syndrome, providing pamphlets about how to deal with infant crying, and asking parents to sign a pledge, all before they leave the hospital. They have been supported by states from Florida to Washington and Minnesota to Texas and have been reducing harm to children across the country.
In our golden state, only a few communities have implemented SBS prevention in their hospitals so far. By expanding SBS education to reach more counties throughout the state, we can save lives and dollars for where they can be better spent. I respectfully urge you to support SBS prevention education and SB 468.