Give your word to never shake a baby

5:57 AM, Jun 30, 2010   |    comments
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"I think of him every single day, and think that it just is not fair that he doesn't have the chance to grow up. He doesn't have the chance to go to the park and feed the ducks." Jack's grandmother, Claudia Riggs, said. "It is senseless that he does not have that chance."

Jack is one of at least 1,200 babies and toddlers who are the victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome, or SBS, in the United States every year.

It is a leading cause of death for children under the age of 2 in Colorado.

A crying baby is the number one trigger for SBS. Jack's dad, Benjamin Koller, told investigators that he would sometimes want to tell Jack to "shut up."

Baby Jack died from his injuries last October. His father now faces charges of first-degree murder.

Doctors and nurses at The Children's Hospital say any caregivers should have a plan in place for the times when a baby is crying; have a plan to calm the baby down and to calm yourself down. They say that is the best prevention of SBS.

They say if all else fails; put a baby in a safe place, like a crib, and walk away until you have calmed down.

Riggs says she is so grateful that the message is being spread in the community.

"What we have lived is horrendous. I wouldn't wish this on anyone," she said.

At first doctors thought Jack might recover, but when it became clear there was nothing else anyone could do for him, Jack went to Riggs' house to live his last days.

After 9NEWS shared their story we received dozens of letters and e-mails from other families who have been impacted by Shaken Baby Syndrome. We heard from others whose loved ones had died from the abuse, as well as people who were now caring for SBS survivors with developmental challenges.

"I imagine that anyone who has harmed a child and is sitting in prison, or sitting at home with a brain damaged child, is wishing that they could go back in time and changed that moment and come up with some other option," Riggs said.

"There is no shame in knowing you are at wit's end," she said. "It is when you act on it that the damage is going to happen."

"There is no harm in putting them in their crib and walking away. Take a deep breath and stop and think about the potential damage you could be doing," she said.

Riggs says when she sees a child now, she sees an opportunity to avenge Jack's death and the hurt of so many other babies and toddlers.

"I want Jack's life to mean something, and if his death means that I talk to people and maybe they hear the message of take care of your babies, and have a plan, then that will be his legacy," Riggs said.

In early May, Benjamin Koller pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. He faces up to 48 years in prison and will be sentenced in July.

If you are looking for resources, information, or you would like to give your word to never shake a baby, go to

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