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Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)

Here are some tips on how you can prevent these feelings from taking over.

Establish a family and social support network

  • Do the families you know have members who are parents, grand-parents, aunts, uncles, and grand-children? They all have likely received health care services. Also, does your social support network consist of both professional and non-professional support? Professional (formal) support consists of your CLSC, hospital, doctor, nurse, etc.), and non-professional (informal) support consists of your parents, friends, etc.
  • Informal support (friends and family) is very important. In fact, having friends that you can call on at any time and who can understand what you are feeling without judging you is vital to maintaining family balance. It does not matter if you - father, mother, or spouse - have different informal support networks; what is important is to have a list of people who can help you at any time 24 hours a day!
  • Sometimes, the formal support network (professional) is already very involved with the family. It may be useful and important to determine when to call on these professional resources you trust (ex: CLSC nurse, doctor, or pediatrician). These professionals can help you in many different ways (ex: home visits, scientific information, support groups, motivational workshops, information sessions on child development, vaccinations, etc.). The CLSC also has many different services for vulnerable families. Do not hesitate to ask for these services. Remember that asking for help does not make you a lesser parent. On the contrary, you will only be enhancing your parenting skills and, above all, you will realize that you are not alone. For many families who have just arrived in a new neighbourhood, these services often help break the feeling of isolation.

In short, you should:

  • Prepare a list of friends and relatives whom you can call on at any time 24 hours a day. Do not forget to let these people know that they are on your list!
  • Prepare a list of professional resources (formal support), such as the CLSC, Parents hotline, etc.

Enhance your knowledge

  • Learn more about excessive crying, anger, shaken baby syndrome, normal child development, etc. Even though we may think that the baby has everything they need, they will just continue crying. It is possible that the crying is related to their current development stage. Check with your health care professional or call 811 Info-Santé.
  • Since 2005, the CHUSJ has been giving parents (fathers, mothers, and spouses) brief information sessions on such topics as excessive crying, anger, and shaken baby syndrome, during which three information pamphlets are given to the parents. This session is part of an awareness initiative that is currently being implemented in hospitals across Quebec.

Learn to recognize your emotions

  • Daily life with a newborn, child, or teenager is sometimes full of ups and downs. Your emotions constantly fluctuate between happiness, joy, peacefulness, serenity, pride, sadness, frustration, impatience, and also anger. All these emotions are normal, but how do you recognize where your emotions are at in difficult situations?
  • Is it frustration you are feeling? Impatience? Anger? Is the situation getting out of hand? The baby is crying, the older child does not want to nap, you are tired, you don't know what to do.

Talk to someone

  • Parents hotline 1-800-361-5085
  • Most importantly, do not hesitate to call someone when you are feeling overwhelmed. Just talking it out can decrease your stress by about 50%.

Get yourself an anger meter (Thermomètre de la colère©)

  • This is a brochure made of thick cardboard measuring 7 x 18 inches, which indicates the words that parents typically use in difficult situations as when the baby cries incessantly. It illustrates how emotions gradually progress to anger. It explains anger and how to prevent its onset. The anger meter will help you practice the above-described exercises.
  • Speak to your CLSC for more information or ask for assistance if you need help using the anger meter's exercises.
  • Visit your nearest CLSC to get an anger meter.
  • If you are a health care or social services professional: please read the section on the anger meter for more details.
About this page
Updated on 10/6/2014
Created on 10/6/2014
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