Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

April 17, 2012
Central Region
Public Information Officer
(407) 317-7000 ext. 7042
Child Protective Investigators Continue to Encounter "Shaken Baby" cases in Central Florida
~ Experts Contribute Stress and Frustration in Tragic Cases of SBS ~

ORLANDO, FLA. – Tragically, the Florida Department of Children and Families continues to investigate cases of shaken baby with the most recent death from Central Florida, in Polk County. This case took the life of an innocent 2-week-old named Colton on April 6.

The affects of SBS vary from severe brain injury if the child survives, to death. Betty, granddaughter to the founder of the Russell Home – an Orlando home which cares for special needs children recalls a 4-month-old brought to their facility after discharge from Arnold Palmer. "She shook him. He was crying and she was frustrated so she shook him. We later learned that she was under the influence."

Although the number of child deaths resulting from SBS have decreased from 2010 to 2011, it continues to be a serious concern of child welfare professionals and a focus of education in the medical community.

SBS often stems from frustration and is always preventable. Experts suggest that the most common contributing factor which escalates this overwhelming frustration – is crying. Infants under age 6 months are at highest risk for shaken baby syndrome – also called abuse head trauma.

Tips for frustrated parents:

Parents are encouraged to remember that crying is means of communication for an infant, but sometimes babies do cry for no apparent reason.

To comfort a crying infant –

  • Parents may gently bounce or walk
  • Talk calmly with a soothing voice to an infant
  • Try a car ride,
  • Offer a pacifier
  • Hold the infant close to your heart.

Central Region Child Deaths - Abusive Head Trauma 2010