(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly members Louis D. Greenwald and Cleopatra Tucker sponsored to require the state to provide information about child abuse and neglect such as Shaken Baby Syndrome to new parents is advancing toward law.
“All new parents need to be absolutely aware of how devastating this syndrome can be,” said Greenwald (D-Camden). “Learning about Shaken Baby Syndrome will hopefully prevent parents from harming their babies.”
“Bringing in a health professional to reinforce and make certain that new parents understand what Shaken Baby Syndrome is, how it can be brought about and what it can do to their baby ultimately will save lives,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “This will protect innocent newborns.”
According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, 1,200 to 1,400 children nationwide annually receive medical treatment for injuries attributed to being violently shaken by a caregiver. Nearly 30 percent of those injuries prove fatal, and about 80 percent of survivors incur lifelong brain injuries that can lead to learning and physical disabilities, blindness, hearing and speech disabilities, cerebral palsy and behavior disorders.
The legislation (A-1654) would require the Department of Children and Families to provide information relating to child abuse and neglect to parents of newborn infants. The information would be in both English and Spanish and distributed to each parent present during the infant’s birth, by the personnel at a hospital or birthing facility and before the mother’s discharge as part of the hospital or birthing facility’s discharge procedures.
The DCF would distribute the pamphlet to all hospitals and birthing facilities in the state at no charge, update it as necessary, and make additional copies available to health care providers upon request.
The bill was recently released by the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. It now goes to the Assembly Speaker who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.
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