Early Childhood Intervention

Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome: A Comparison of Two Parent Education Programs


Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a severe form of child maltreatment and the leading cause of death among infants who are victims of abuse. There are approximately 1,300 reported cases of SBS per year in the United States, but as with other forms of child maltreatment, there is reason to believe that the real incidence of SBS is much higher. The detection and diagnosis of SBS is often difficult, making efforts toward preventing this form of child maltreatment all the more important.

Parent education programs are the most prominent type of SBS prevention activity. The Dias Model of parent education focuses on teaching caregivers about the dangers of shaking. The Period of PURPLE Crying model of parent education focuses equally on normalizing infant crying and the dangers of SBS. This study seeks to compare the two parent education programs to evaluate their effectiveness in changing parent’s knowledge about factors related to SBS.

The SBS parent education models under study were both implemented and evaluated as primary prevention interventions. This study will take place within the Nurturing Families Network Intensive Home Visiting Programs, funded by the Connecticut Children’s Trust Fund, which is a secondary prevention program that targets first time mothers who screen as being at-risk for child maltreatment. This study represents the first effort to evaluate the effectiveness of the two parent education models as secondary prevention interventions.

  • Student Investigator: Jill Bradshaw, MSW
  • UConn IRB Approved: Protocol #HOB-169
  • Funded by the Connecticut Children’s Trust Fund as a graduate assistantship at the UConn UCEDD