DAY CARE WORKER ARRESTED FOR SHAKING BABY
By Samantha Auer, WVUA 23 Staff
HOOVER– A day care worker in Hoover was arrested Tuesday after police said she was filmed shaking a toddler.
The woman was employed at Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a day care company that manages the child care center for Blue Cross Blue Shield employees in Hoover. The day care center is located at 140 Riverchase Parkway E.
Police said online camera footage from Aug. 27 showed the woman grabbing a 17-month-old child and then aggressively and forcefully shaking him. De’Erika Stephens surrendered to authorities on a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.
A physician later examined the child and said he had no apparent injuries.
Nanette Sue Glaus with Tuscaloosa Child Abuse Prevention Services said there are an estimated 1,200 to 1,600 cases of shaken baby syndrome each year in the United States. She said 25 percent of those shaken babies die from their injuries while the other 75 percent can suffer brain damage.
“When a baby is being shaken and their head is moving around they’re tearing blood vessels, nerves and tissue and slamming this tissue up against the skull,” Glaus said. “When bleeding starts to occur there’s not much they can do to stop the bleeding.”
Glaus said in infants it can be hard for parents to recognize shaken baby syndrome.
“They might not show the signs right away,” Glaus said. “Sometimes children up to the age of 5 or 6, when they get into school, teachers might notice they’re having some disabilities and it could be as a result of being shaken or hurt when they were very young as babies.”
The effects of shaking a baby are irreversible and it doesn’t take long to cause damage.
Glaus said some side effects of shaking a baby can be brain damage, cerebral palsy, blindness, the inability to be consoled, the inability to feed and eye damage.
Glaus said parents and caregivers can never be too observant when it comes to looking for signs of abuse.
“Look out for things like lethargy, the inability to focus and the inability to respond to you. Their sleep patterns (and) their eating patterns may be disrupted,” Glaus said.
Glaus suggested that parents or caregivers have a plan if they become frustrated with a child to remove themselves from the heat of the situation.
“Put the baby down in a safe place and walk away,” Glaus said. “Do what you need to do. Go outside for a little bit. Stand on you front porch and breathe. Whatever it takes for you to calm down and be the nurturing parent you want to be. That’s what you need to do,” she said.
If you find yourself in situation like this you can call the Child Help USA hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD or 9-1-1.