2007 -- H 6271

Enacted 04/10/07


H O U S E  R E S O L U T I O N



     Introduced By: Representatives Giannini, Mattiello, Ucci, Baldelli-Hunt, and Kilmartin

     Date Introduced: April 10, 2007


     WHEREAS, The month of April was designated “National Child Abuse Prevention

Month” as an annual tradition that was initiated in 1979 by former President Jimmy Carter; and

     WHEREAS, The most recent National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System figures

reveal that almost 900,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in the United States in

2002, causing unspeakable pain and suffering to our most vulnerable citizens; and

     WHEREAS, Among the children who are victims of abuse and neglect, nearly 4 children

die in the United States each day; and

     WHEREAS, Children aged 1 year or younger accounted for 41.2 percent of all child

abuse and neglect fatalities in 2002; and

     WHEREAS, Abusive head trauma, including the trauma known as “Shaken Baby

Syndrome”, is recognized as the leading cause of death of physically abused children; and

     WHEREAS, Shaken Baby Syndrome can result in loss of vision, brain damage, paralysis,

seizures, or death; and

     WHEREAS, A 2003 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated

that, in the United States, an average of 300 children, of whom 2/3 will be babies or infants under

1 year of age, will die each year, and 600 to 1,200 more will be injured as a result of Shaken Baby

Syndrome, with many cases resulting in severe and permanent disabilities; and

     WHEREAS, Medical professionals believe that thousands of additional cases of Shaken

Baby Syndrome are being misdiagnosed or are not detected; and

     WHEREAS, The most effective solution for ending Shaken Baby Syndrome is to prevent

the abuse, and it is clear that the minimal costs of education and prevention programs may

prevent enormous medical and disability costs and immeasurable amounts of grief for many

families; and

     WHEREAS, Prevention programs have demonstrated that educating new parents about

the danger of shaking young children and how they can help protect their child from injury can

bring about a significant reduction in the number of cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome; and

     WHEREAS, Education programs have been shown to raise awareness and provide

critically important information about Shaken Baby Syndrome to parents, caregivers, daycare

workers, child protection employees, law enforcement personnel, health care professionals, and

legal representatives; and

     WHEREAS, Efforts to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome are supported by advocacy

groups across the United States that were formed by parents and relatives of children who have

been killed or injured by shaking, including the National Shaken Baby Coalition, the Shaken

Baby Association, the Shaking Kill: Instead Parents Please Educate and Remember Initiative

(commonly known as the “Skipper Initiative”), the Shaken Baby Alliance, Shaken Baby

Prevention, Inc., A Voice for Gabbi, Don’t Shake Jake, the Kierra Harrison Foundation, and the

Hannah Rose Foundation, whose mission is to educate the families of the victims in the health

care and criminal justice systems; and

     WHEREAS, Child abuse prevention programs and “National Shaken Baby Syndrome

Awareness Week” are supported by the National Shaken Baby Coalition, the National Center on

Shaken Baby Syndrome, the Children’s Defense Fund, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the

Child Welfare League of America, Prevent Child Abuse America, the National Child Abuse

Coalition, the National Exchange Club Foundation, the American Humane Association, the

American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the Arc of the United States, the

Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Children’s Healthcare is a legal Duty, Family

Partnership, Family Voices, National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds, United

Cerebral Palsy, the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and related institutions, Never

Shake a Baby Arizona, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, the Center for Child Protection and Family

Support, and many other organizations; and

     WHEREAS, A 2000 survey by Prevent Child Abuse America shows that approximately

half of all citizens of the United States believe that, of all the public health issues facing the

United States, child abuse and neglect is the most important issue; now therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and

Providence Plantations hereby observes the third week of April, 2007 as “National Shaken Baby

Syndrome Awareness Week” in the State of Rhode Island; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this House commends those hospitals, child care councils, schools,

and other organizations that are working to increase awareness of the danger of shaking young

children; educating parents and caregivers on how they can help protect children from injuries

caused by abusive shaking; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That this House encourages the citizens of Rhode Island to remember the

victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome and participate in educational programs to help prevent

Shaken Baby Syndrome; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to

transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the National Shaken Baby Coalition.