Pictured: Chuck Fair, Byesville Rotary President, and Jamie Miller, Outreach Coordinator for Children Services.
Jamie Miller, Outreach Coordinator for Children Services, surprised club members by pulling 3 lifelike baby dolls out of her suitcase. The dolls help Miller educate people about how dangerous alcohol and drug abuse are to a baby’s pre-natal development and how quickly shaking a baby can kill or permanently damage an infant.
The life-like dolls did not look very well. Two were small with skinny arms and legs. One also had an odd look to its face. These two dolls show what babies born to mothers who abused drugs and alcohol during pregnancy look like.
Miller stated that each month at Southeastern Med 1 to 4 babies are born addicted to drugs. A drug addicted baby tends to be smaller than average but otherwise appears ok. Miller explained these babies have, “…invisible problems which show up as the infant goes through withdrawal during the first 2-3 weeks of life.” Babies will be jittery, restless and cry a lot.
The second baby doll represented an infant suffering from a group of symptoms called fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. These babies tend to have facial abnormalities such as wide-set and narrow eyes, growth problems and nervous system abnormalities. Other symptoms such as learning and remembering problems, difficulty understanding directions, poor communication and socializing skills, and trouble with daily life skills such as feeding and bathing show up as the infant develops. She ended by saying alcohol is very dangerous for a developing fetus, “There is no safe number of drinks to have. If you are pregnant, don’t take a single drop.”
The 3rd baby doll was a normal size and still had baby fat. Miller used this doll to show how quickly a baby can be harmed when it is shaken. Miller stated that a baby can be harmed by a few as 2-4 shakes. Then she picked up the doll and shook it for about 20 seconds. A red light went on in the baby’s head and it went limp.
Miller pointed out that any fussy baby can become a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). She reported that 90% of shaken babies suffer permanent damage such as blindness, learning disabilities’ deafness, seizures, and/or behavior problems. Prevention is the best way to avoid hurting an infant. Children Services offers a training program which helps parents learn how to quiet and calm a fussy, crying baby.
Connect with Byesville Rotary at: www.Byesvillerotary.blogspot.com or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Byesville-Rotary/256548047818283. The club meets 7:30 am, Tuesday at the Stop Nine Senior Center at 60313 (GPS use 60299) Southgate Road, Byesville. Walk-ins are welcome at the club’s meeting.