our programs

Never Shake a Baby

Prevent Child Abuse Illinois established the Never Shake a Baby prevention campaign in 1993, which was developed to educate the public and warn parents and caregivers about the tragic results that can occur when a baby is shaken and to offer important tips to console a crying baby. In 1996 a more powerful message - "Shaking a Baby can be Deadly. Make Sure No One Shakes Your Baby" was implemented with billboards, transit cards and posters quickly followed. Spanish language brochures were added to the campaign in 1999. Prevent Child Abuse Illinois works with communities across the state to provide training, community presentations, train-the-trainer workshops, resource tables at health fairs and conferences, mass transit advertising, literature and ideas/support for calming a crying infant. Today, trainings and requests for literature are requested more than ever before.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Identify Why A Baby Cries

Research shows crying is the behavior which most often precipitates an infant being shaken.Taking care of a baby can be difficult and frustrating. Often, the biggest challenge is trying to figure out why the baby is crying. The following questions can help. Post this list in your baby's room as a reminder to everyone who cares for your baby.


  • Does the baby need to be fed or burped? Feed him slowly and burp him often.

  • Does the baby need to be changed? Check his diaper to see if it needs to be changed or loosened.

  • Is the baby too hot or too cold? Feel the baby's head for perspiration or coolness. Add or remove clothing and blankets, as needed.

  • Does the baby seem to have a fever?

  • Does he seem to be in pain from an earache, teething, rash, or insect bite? Call your doctor or health clinic for advice.

  • Does the baby need to suck? Guide her fingers or a pacifier to her mouth.

  • Does the baby need to feel close to you? Babies need to be held often. Touching and cuddling help a baby develop both physically and mentally.

  • Is the baby overtired or over stimulated? Turn off extra notice like the television. Lower the lights. Gently lay the baby in his crib.

CRYING is the #1 Trigger of SBS

25% of babies die

80% suffer life-long


Educate Others Who May Care For Your Baby

  • Educate the men in your baby's life. Male caregivers may be less familiar with infant soothing and coping skills.

  • Develop a plan with your child's caregiver to provider support during stressful times. Let your caregiver know you will pick up your child immediately if the caregiver is over stressed.

  • Identify someone who can provide care for your baby when you need a break.

  • Tell everyone who cares for your baby that no one should ever shake your baby!


Know What To Do Before You Get Frustrated

  • If you feel yourself losing control, gently put the baby down.

  • Locate a safe place to lay your baby down and walk away.

  • It is normal for your baby to cry - all babies cry- some cry a lot!

  • Crying cannot be "controlled"

  • Taking care of a baby is a BIG job

  • Ask for HELP!

Ways to Help Yourself

  • Try some of the following tips to take care of your own needs. Let your anger out in a safe way. Shake a rug, do dishes or laundry, scrub a floor, beat a pillow or just sit down and have a good cry. It is okay to feel frustrated - as long as you don't take it out on the baby.

  • Calm down. Take several deep breaths; count to 100, put yourself in a time-out chair until you're calm.

  • Stop and think about why you feel so angry. Is it the child or is he just a convenient target for your anger?

  • Sit or lie down, close your eyes, think of a pleasant place in your memory for several minutes.

  • Call a friend, relative, or neighbor to talk about your frustration or see if someone can take over for a while.

  • Do something for yourself. Listen to soft music, exercise, take a shower or bath.

  • Write down the ten best things about yourself. Write down the ten best things about your child.

  • Remember that crying doesn't hurt a baby - - shaking does.