Abusive Head Trauma Prevention Hospital Campaign

Lifespan Health
Public Health

What would you like to do?

What you need to know

​​​​​​​​Abusive Head Trauma (AHT), also known as Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), is 100% preventable and is a form of physical child abuse to a baby or young child. AHT/SBS can be caused by shaking alone or from an injury that results in a whiplash motion that may cause bleeding inside the brain or eyes. Even a few seconds of violent shaking can cause serious injuries.

​Babies are more susceptible to injury because:

  • their heads are bigger and heavier compared to the rest of their body;
  • they have weak neck muscles;
  • their brains are delicate and still developing;
  • the baby is much smaller and weaker than the person shaking them.   

According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome AHT​/SBS is the leading cause of Child Abuse Death within the United States. Out of the approximate 1,300 reported cases per year, 80% of survivors have lifelong disabilities, and 25% of the cases will die. As the baby is shaken, the brain moves within the skull, hurting or destroying brain tissue. Shaking also can tear blood vessels around the brain or eye causing more injury or even death. Learn more about Abusive Head Trauma / Shaken Baby Syndrome at don'tshake.org.

Babies cry

Sometimes they cry a lot. Crying is a baby's way of communicating and it is normal. Crying in babies peaks around 6 to 8 weeks and gradually decreases by 4 to 5 months of age. A baby won't die from crying, but they CAN die from being shaken. Non-stop crying is a primary trigger for shaking a baby.

It is not the crying that is the problem. The problem is how adults deal with the crying. AHT/SBS prevention education to new parents on a CRYing plan will help new parents plan ahead on what they will do and how they will react when they become frustrated with a crying baby. A CRYing plan can make a life-changing difference for a baby.

A survey of all birthing hospita​ls in Nebraska

The 2015 survey revealed that hospitals are not providing consistent AHT/SBS prevention messaging in their employee and patient education:

  • 45% of hospitals have an AHT/SBS policy and procedure;​
  • 45% of hospitals required education or training for hospital personnel in contact with newborns, and 67% of those received the education when they were hired;
  • Patient education materials and educational processes varies between hospitals.

The goal of the Nebraska Safe Babies

AHT/SBS Prevention Hospital Campaign is to provide evidence-based education to parents of newborns as well as birthing hospital staff.  Educating new parents and caregivers within the hospital setting will provide a consistent, evidence-based AHT/SBS prevention message to parents of more than 25,000 newborns across the State.

The Nebraska Safe Babies - AHT/SBS Prevention Hospital Campaign consists of five steps

  • Hospitals take the NE Safe Babies - AHT/SBS Prevention Pledge;
  • Hospitals develop or update an AHT/SBS prevention policy;
  • Baseline AHT/SBS prevention education to hospital personnel, with hospital education plan and policy rollout strategy;
  • Provide evidence-based patient/client AHT/SBS prevention education;
  • Incorporate AHT/SBS prevention education and the CRYing Plan into the post-discharge follow-up phone call to patients. 

Becoming an AHT/SBS Prevention Hospital Champion:

How to become a hospital champion: The NE Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska Hospital Association, Nebraska Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative (NPQIC), and the Brain I​njury Alliance of Nebraska invite you to join the Nebraska Safe Babies - AHT/SBS Prevention Hospital Campaign. Every day, health providers can educate with a prevention lens and utilize The CRYing Plan to protect our babies from child​ abuse. Your hospital can make an impact by joining our exciting venture:   

  1. Take the NE Safe Babies - AHT/SBS Prevention Campaign Pledge;
  2. Develop or Update Current AHT/SBS Prevention Policy;
  3. Hospital Personnel AHT/SBS Prevention Education and Education Plan;
  4. Provide Patient/Client Education on the prevention of AHT/SBS and the use of the CRYing Plan;
  5. Incorporate AHT/SBS prevention education and The CRYing Plan into the post-discharge follow-up phone call to patients.  

Champion step-by-step process

News release:


Hospital Champions

  1. Antelope Memorial Hospital, Neligh, NE
  2. St. Francis Memorial Hospital, West Point, NE  
  3. Memorial Health Care Systems, Seward, NE
  4. Butler County Health Care Center, David City, NE 
  5. Sidney Regional Medical Center, Sidney, NE
  6. Methodist Women's Hospital, Omaha, NE
  7. Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital, Council Bluffs, IA
  8. York General Hospital, York, NE
  9. Annie Jeffrey Memorial County Health Center, Osceola, NE
  10. Thayer County Health Services, Hebron, NE
  11. Brodstone Memorial Hospital, Superior, NE
  12. CHI Health Schuyler, Schuyler, NE
  13. Memorial Community Hospital & Health Systems, Blair, NE
  14. Providence Medical Center, Wayne, NE
  15. CHI Health Good Samaritan, Kearney, NE
  16. CHI Health St. Elizabeth, Lincoln, NE
  17. CHI Health St. Francis, Grand Island, NE
  18. CHI Health Lakeside Hospital, Omaha, NE
  19. CHI Health Immanuel, Omaha, NE
  20. CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy, Omaha, NE
  21. CHI Mercy, Council Bluffs, Iowa
  22. CHI Health St. Mary's, Nebraska City, NE
  23. Methodist Fremont Health, Fremont, NE
  24. Mary Lanning Healthcare, Hastings, NE
  25. Ogallala Community Hospital, Ogallala, NE
  26. Howard County Medical Center, St. Paul, NE
  27. Cherry County Hospital, Valentine, NE
  28. Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, NE
  29. Tri Valley Health System, Cambridge, NE
  30. Henderson Health Care Services, Henderson, NE
  31. Chadron Community Hospital and Health Services, Chadron, NE
  32. Memorial Community Health Inc., Aurora, NE
  33. Regional West Medical Center, Scottsbluff, NE
  34. Fillmore County Hospital, Geneva, NE
  35. Grand Island Regional Medical Center, Grand Island, NE
  36. Children's Hospital and Medical Center, Omaha, NE  
  37. Box Butte General Hospital, Alliance, NE ​
  38. Boone County Health Center, Albion, NE  
  39. Columbus Community Hospital, Columbus, NE  
  40. Faith Regional Health Services, Norfolk, NE 
  41. Pender Community Hospital, Pender, NE ​
  42. Crete Area Medical Center, Crete, NE
  43. Great Plains Health, North Platte, NE
  44. Nebraska Medicine​, Omaha, NE

Hospitals that Have Pledged to become Hospital Champion

  1. Phelps Memorial Health Center, Holdrege, NE
  2. Avera St. Anthony's Hospital, O'Neill, NE​
  3. Perkins County Health Services, Grant, NE​