Babies are for Hugging, not Shaking: Why Realityworks’ Shaken Baby Simulator is my Favorite

By Stacy Knudson, Realityworks Account Services Representative 

How many people get to work with babies all day long without ever having to change a diaper? How many of those infant heads flash with red lights?

Relaityworks‘ Account Services Team has the privilege of being involved with many life-changing, generally adorable simulators. However, the Baby I favor most happens to be a bit bizarre-looking: our RealCare™ Shaken Baby Simulator.

The Shaken Baby simulator’s clear head makes it easy to see the devastating brain damage that occurs after just a few seconds of shaking an infant.

At first glance, people often chuckle and say, “Why is that Baby’s head flashing?” or “Is that Baby from outer space?” Viewers are then informed that the lights depict brain damage, and that damage is a direct result of shaking. Interest is solemnly piqued.

With a stand-out, hands-on simulator starring the show, a demonstration becomes astounding. It may even be slightly disturbing to some. But anybody within viewing distance gets the best take-away ever: an image forever etched in their mind.

The mental image may make all the difference in that moment. Have you ever experienced the moment I’m talking about? You’re desperately exhausted; the baby just keeps fussing but you’re even too tired to cry; you’re four hours past your wit’s end; the baby is of course oblivious to anybody besides him/herself; you’re exasperated, lonely and frustrated AND YOU JUST WANT IT TO STOP!

At that point, there are a few routes to take. You may opt to remove yourself from the situation until you feel calm and rational again.

Or, you may jolt the child quiet.

Most people, thankfully, would choose the former. However, all too often, caregivers choose the quick fix, with disastrous results.

Perhaps if the caregiver had a powerful mental image to call upon, even if he/she was already educated on SBS, he or she may be better equipped to make the difficult, but safe, choice at 2:14 a.m.

That is precisely why our Shaken Baby Simulator is my favorite. The mental image of the “Baby with the flashing head” may be just enough to make somebody stop and think… and it might mean the difference between “danger” and “safety.”

National Child Abuse Prevention Month begins in April. For resources, information and ideas to recognize this important month in your classroom or office next month, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Welfare website here.

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