Friday, 20 September 2013

Child care should not become a curse for young children

As reported in today’s Mumbai Mirror by Jyoti Shelar (21st September 2013, One year old with brain injury responding after 6 months of treatment) shaking young children can spell disaster for young children’s growing brains. A one year old baby has suffered neurological damage and has to undergo surgery due to alleged shaking of the child at her day care. What is even more appalling is that the child was handed over to the parent in an unconscious state and reason given was, ‘we thought the child is feeling very sleepy today’.

The above incidence draws light on the much needed training that care givers should have before they are put in charge of young children. A day care especially should train their staff in maintaining  every day charts of babies sleep and eating patterns. In fact in many countries like Canada, day care centers also have to maintain a record of the ‘potty’ of young babies, citing the color, quantity and consistency.
Care givers at day cares should receive training about the age group that they would be handling. With more and more working parents depending on daycares for babies as young as 3 months, it becomes imperative that parents choose wisely and companies must provide day care for employees in their premises. Here are some things to be alert and aware about the care of young babies.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is the cause of many deaths and harms the young brain- Parenting is not easy. Parents need to be honored for this lifelong commitment they make and at times a parent can lose their cool and end up hitting or shaking their kids. Shaken Baby Syndrome is the cause of many deaths and can also can harm to the brain as shaking may cause your baby’s brain to swell, bleed or bruise. Shaken baby syndrome can be caused in the following ways-
1.     Throwing your baby in the air while playing.
2.     Not strapping your baby in a baby car seat while travelling with baby in car. The quick succession brakes, potholes, bumps can all cause damage.
3.     Taking the young baby on dizzy rides or roller coasters.
4.     Shaking the baby in anger.
5.     In many instances slapping the baby too hard across the face.
Be careful that the daycare/playschool or home nanny is aware of the above and does not practice these incorrect methods.
One of the mistakes the daycare in this case made is in assuming that the child was just sleeping a lot whereas the child was unconscious. Parents and daycares must know how much sleep does a child require and at what age and should maintain a sleep log for each child. So how much sleep do young children require? It differs from child to child but given here are some guidelines –
·         Age 1-4 weeks                                                                                                                             Sleep : 15 to 16 hours a Day
·         Newborns typically sleep in two to four hour blocks both during the night and day. They are yet to establish their internal biological clock
·         Age    : 1-4 months
·         Sleep : 14 – 15 hours a day
·         Usually able to sleep once for six hours in a row.
·         Age : 4 – 12 months
·         Sleep : 14 – 15 hours per day
·         2 – 3 naps. Can sleep through the night by age 6 months  
·         Age : 1 – 3 years
·         Sleep: 12 – 14 hours per day.
·         Toddlers usually lose that second nap. Nap can be 1 – 3.5 hours. Their nap is anywhere from 1 to 3 ½ hours long. 
·         Age : 3 – 6 years
·         Sleep: 10 – 12 hours per day.
·         At three, most children still take naps, by 5 most no longer nap.
Another important danger to young babies is SIDS - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The safest position to put young babies to sleep is on their back. Keep the following in mind and ensure at the day care too-
1.     Babies placed on their stomachs to sleep are at greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 
2.      Place infants on their backs for sleep.
3.     Provide a firm crib covered by a sheet.
4.     Keep pillows and stuffed toys out of the crib.
5.     Make sure the sleeping area is a comfortable temperature to keep infants from becoming overheated.
6.     That is why we must respect the Indian cradle made of cloth, it not only takes the baby’s body shape, but keeps baby safe from SIDS and gives baby the feeling of being safe and coddled just like in the uterus. So time to bring back the Indian cloth cradle

Yet another danger that parents and daycares need to be aware about and watch for is that touch should not become trouble for young children.
Touch is essential to babies' sensory-motor development, and has a positive impact on their physical growth, emotional well-being, cognitive potential, and health. Up to five years of age, young children's touch sensitivity remains more on the face than on their hands. And so it is important that adults don’t pinch, slap or harm kids on their faces.
Young babies thrive on touch and seek it everywhere and from everyone so it becomes imperative for adults to save them from bad touch from adults. Bad touch in the form of physical abuse and sexual abuse are all to be careful about. Start talking to kids about good and bad touch as early as possible


Snehal Pjk said...

Sleeping position has been identified as the key factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The other major factor of SIDS is the common cold, the mucus generated by it blocks the breathing through the nose. Research has revealed that putting the baby to sleep face up has decreased the incidence of SIDS by 50% over the last decades. This article will be very helpful for the parents whose kids at this age or who are planning to become a parent .

Nikita said...

It is often stressful for parents and caretakers when children cry. When they are unable to soothe a crying baby, they may resort to jerking, shaking and violence.

"Guard well your baby’s precious head; Shake, jerk and
Slap it never; lest you bruise his brain and twist his
Mind; or whiplash him dead forever" – Dr. John Caffey

It is normal for babies to cry. Crying is their way of communication. Some of the ways to help soothe a crying baby could be a tummy rub, a warm bath or creating a rhythmic movement with your baby.

We as adults, parents, caregivers and teachers should ensure that our touch does not harm our children.

shilpa ghare said...

Having correct knowledge,training of day care is must.This article will help a lot to know. Shaken Baby syndrome said and also about sleep mentioned deeply in detail really good to have information thanks.
Shilpa Ghare

Bhavna Dwivedi said...

This article is an eye opener for everyone who takes care of infant or small children, one ground rule we should all remember is never to shake a child vigorously.
This article will also help us all to improve our parenting skills and to be more aware and sensitive towards our little ones.Even if we playfully throw a small child into the air vigorously it can lead to shaken baby syndrome. This is a common practice in our Indian society where it’s considered fun for the baby. Hence information about shaken baby syndrome is not intended to make parents afraid to touch their children rather it is intended to remind parents/caretakers to take special care when handling children, especially those under 3 years of age.

Pooja Kothare said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pooja Kothare said...

Parenthood is not an easy job.
Before enrolling your child, scrutinize the day care center, if they satisfy all areas of safety then will your child be in correct hands.
It is essential for every parent to understand that a mere touch could relieve their child of fear, anxiety and soothe hurt feelings. It is often observed that a baby is howling but as soon as the baby is picked or rocked by his/her mother or father, he/she surprisingly stops wailing. Touching your child also boosts his self esteem and he/she will get a feeling of being accepted and loved.
However, parents must keep in mind the intensity of touch it could vary from cuddle, hug, kiss to gentle pat on back but parents must not misuse the term touch by bouncing or tossing the child in air, shaking a baby could damage its neck, spine and eyes .

Shaheen Bhati - PIE. said...

There has been controversy regarding the amount of force required to produce the brain damage seen in shaken baby syndrome. A biomechanical experiment in 2005 demonstrated that "forceful shaking can severely injure or kill an infant, this is because the cervical spine would be severely injured and not because subdural hematomas would be caused by high head rotational accelerations... an infant's head subjected to the levels of rotational velocity and acceleration called for in the SBS literature, would experience forces on the infant neck far exceeding the limits for structural failure of the cervical spine leading to death in infant's.


This information was very helpful. I passed this knowledge to my younger sister who has 6 months old baby. This type of important information should be aired on national television at prime time. So that maximum people are educated,and many babies are saved from this violence.

Mona Rohera said...

Great and informative article .thanks mona

Manju Joshi said...

Despite declines in prevalence during the past two decades, sudden infant death syndrome continues to be the leading cause of death for infants aged between 1 month and 1 year in developed countries. Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a triad of medical findings: Estimated death rates (mortality) among infants with SBS range from 15% to 38%; if important measures as mentioned in the blog are followed as child care taker – either parent or teacher or any adult then this percentage can be reduced to large extent.
Common.. its time to talk and spread this and make others aware of this. Because Nonfatal consequences of SBS include varying degrees of visual impairment (including blindness), motor impairment also is often fatal and can cause severe brain damage, resulting in lifelong disability.
Potential risk factors include:
• overheating from excessive sleepwear and bedding
• stomach sleeping

kajal said...

This article is an eye opener for everyone.Taking care of such small kids is a tough job but,special care should be taken while handling them. As a caretaker one must know proper schedule of the child.

poonam chandak said...

The above incidence draws light on the much needed training that care givers should have before they are put in charge of young children.This will even help our teachers to focus on the routine of kids and make them important to find even small changes in child.

Ankita Suchak said...

Thanks for such an informative article.This article will be helpful for our teachers as well as our Parents.

Natasha Kale said...

Knowledge of this kind is so important for anyone who deals with children.

People should realise that a slip or carelessness from our end can lead to a child losing his or her life.

Thank you for spreading awareness.

aneesha jayakar said...

Nice article very informative, interesting eye opener-Aneesha.

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