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Law designed to protect delicate baby brains

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CAMILLA, GA (WALB) -

It happens in an instant.

A frustrated caregiver loses his or her temper with a crying baby, and the result can be deadly.

A law in Florida, named in honor of a shaken baby victim Kimberlin West, requires new parents to be taught about shaken baby syndrome.

Kimberlin's grandmother wants a similar law passed in Georgia.

Kimberlin West was just six weeks old when her grandmother received a call that she was in intensive care due to child abuse.

"Connected to every kind of tube and machine you could imagine to keep her alive," says Janet Goree, Kimberlin's Grandmother.

Doctors told her that due to violent shaking, Kimberlin's head underwent forces equal to a jet plane taking off.

"67% of her brain was gone, it just died," says Goree.

She says Kimberlin's father ultimately pleaded guilty to felony child neglect.

A normal healthy baby cries about two to three hours a day, but it is how you react to it that matters.

Shaken baby syndrome is the leading cause of death by child abuse.

"They cannot say oh you fed me too fast and forgot to burp me so I am gassy and my tummy hurts, they cannot tell you that, all they can do is scream," says Goree.

It only takes 5 seconds of unrestrained violent shaking to destroy a child's brain and their life.

She recommends removing yourself from a stressful situation.

"You put them into a safe place, you shut the door, and walk away because when you start to get frustrated at that point it is not about the baby anymore, at that point it is about you, and you have to calm yourself down," says Goree.

After years of educating families about Shaken baby syndrome in Florida, The Kimberlin West Act was passed.

"There is a law in Florida now named after my granddaughter that requires anytime anybody has a baby, they have to be educated on shake a baby syndrome," says Goree.

And she is hoping to do the same here in Georgia.

She has met with Representative Jay Powell and given him the legislation to see what can be done to pass the law in Georgia.

Janet Goree says that this year was particularly hard for her family because Kimberlin would have been 18 years old in March.

70% of shaken baby syndrome cases are caused by the father or father figure.

Find out how to get more information about shaken baby syndrome training...email jgoree@camillaga.net

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