A Case-Control Study to Evaluate Utah's Shaken Baby Prevention Program

In Utah, educational videos used to educate mothers about shaken baby syndrome prevention programs were ineffective.

Some states have mandated educational interventions that address shaken baby syndrome (SBS), a form of abusive head trauma (AHT). These interventions warn mothers and family members about the dangers of shaking infants.

From 2001 to 2003, all birthing hospitals in Utah implemented an SBS prevention program. The goal was to educate mothers about the dangers of SBS. Mothers and family members viewed one of two educational videos—Elijah’s Story and Portrait of a Promise— that delivered the “do not shake” message.

This case-control study examined whether the two educational videos incorporated into the Utah program decreased the occurrence of AHT. The authors examined cases occurring from 2001 to 2007. Some mothers who viewed the SBS videos had also been exposed to educational materials about other subjects. The alternate videos addressed: 1) education about the correct use of infant car seats; 2) education about a program to prevent sudden infant death syndrome; and, 3) education about regulating the hot water temperature to reduce scalding of infants. The authors determined whether reductions in AHT were caused by the SBS videos or the alternate videos.

Key Findings:

  • The reduction in AHT associated with the SBS videos was statistically insignificant.
  • The three alternate educational videos were all associated with significantly decreased odds of AHT.

This study found that SBS educational videos shown to caretakers in Utah did not reduce AHT. The results demonstrate that educational programs should be carefully evaluated prior to implementation.

[This research was funded by the Primary Children's Medical Center Foundation.]