Abusive Head Trauma Information for State, Territory, and Tribal Lead Agencies

Last Reviewed Date
March 01, 2022
parent holding their child

This page features resources that support best practices in the development of state abusive head trauma standards, policies, and training.

American Academy of Pediatrics’ Abusive Head Trauma in Infants and Children Policy Statement
In April 2020, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised the policy statement summarizing a decade of evidence supporting the diagnosis of “abusive head trauma.” The term abusive head trauma has replaced “shaken baby syndrome" because it is a more precise term that encompasses shaking and other actions that can injure a child's brain. Clinical studies continue to emphasize the importance of shaking as a cause of abusive head trauma.

Preventing shaken baby syndrome; a guide for health departments and community-based organizations (2013)
The purpose of this guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to help your organization identify your role and to take action to protect infants from shaken baby syndrome. It outlines steps to implement evidence-based intervention strategies to integrate specific education messages into existing programs for new parents, caregivers, professionals, and the general public and to engage in activities that impact policy development in preventing shaken baby syndrome.

Minimum Health and Safety Standards: A Guide for American Indian and Alaska Native Child Care and Development Fund Grantees
This guide provides voluntary minimum guidelines from which all grantees should operate. These guidelines ensure that children are cared for in healthy and safe environments and that their basic needs are met. This guide was first published in 2000 and was updated in 2005 and 2018.

Examples of states that have adopted or in process of adopting licensing standards that match Caring for our Children recommendations for preventing abusive head trauma:

Shaken Baby Statewide Campaigns:

National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome Training Modules:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Preventing Abusive Head Trauma Web page

  • Journalist’s Guide to Shaken Baby Syndrome: This guide can assist states, territories, and Tribes in developing public service announcements, helping people understand the dangers of violently shaking a baby; the risk factors associated with SBS; the triggers for it; and ways to prevent it may help reduce the number of babies affected by SBS.

Caring for Our Children Standards – Abusive Head Trauma

Caring for our Children Standard on Abusive Head Trauma: 

Standard 3.4.4.3: Preventing and Identifying Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma

Additional related standards:

Standard 1.3.2.4: Additional Qualifications for Caregivers/Teachers Serving Children Birth to Thirty-Five Months of Age;
Standard 1.3.2.7: Qualifications and Responsibilities for Health Advocates;
Standard 1.3.3.1: General Qualifications of Family Child Care Caregivers/Teachers to Operate a Family Child Care Home
Standard 1.4.1.1: Pre-service Training
Standard 1.4.4.1: Continuing Education for Directors and Caregivers/Teachers in Centers and Large Family Child Care Homes;
Standard 1.4.4.2: Continuing Education for Small Family Child Care Home Caregivers/Teachers
Standard 1.5.0.2: Orientation of Substitutes
Standard 1.6.0.1: Child Care Health Consultants
Standard 2.4.2.1: Health and Safety Education Topics for Staff
Standard 3.4.4.1: Recognizing and Reporting Suspected Child Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
Standard 10.3.5.3: Training of Licensing Agency Personnel about Child Abuse
Standard 10.6.1.2: Provision of Training to Facilities by Health Agencies

Return to the Abusive Head Trauma page