Superior Court Judge On Shaken Baby Syndrome

Informed, impassioned comments continue to pour in at the bottom of this post: The Real Consensus On Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Judge Charles Gill speaking recently at The Gilbert School in Connecticut

Today, we heard, among others, from Connecticut Superior Court Judge Charles Gill, who is known as a longtime children’s advocate. He writes:

Law Professor Deborah Tuerkheimer’s Op-Ed 9/20/10 in the New York Times on The Shaken Baby Syndrome is a criminal defense lawyers dream, but a reality nightmare.

I have lectured at dozens of law and medical schools on child abuse. Her real inexperience in this area shows.

It is disconcerting, if not frightening, when a law professor professes factual, technical, and legal misleading statements in public and professional publications.

Her over-extension of the highly questionable medical minority view on the subject into the legal
world makes me wince. Her beliefs are not medically, scientifically or legally correct. They suggest a legal tilting at her new “innocence project”. We liberals love such pursuits. But her project is guilty of existing pretty much in her own mind. Her sources are scant and wrong.

Let us hope that her efforts do not result in the freeing of people who murder our infants in the most despicable way.

Connecticut Superior Court Judge Charles D. Gill

As we posted here, Professor Tuerkheimer has declined to comment directly on the outpouring of comments on CommonHealth. Most of the comments are critical of her New York Times op-ed piece saying that experts are questioning the science behind shaken baby syndrome. Might Judge Gill’s comment be enough to prompt a more direct response?

Government Warns Against Infant Sleep Positioners

Infant sleep positioners — specially shaped cushions meant to keep babies sleeping on their backs — are supposed to help save babies from SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the FDA warned today that they’ve received a dozen reports of infant suffocation deaths linked to the infant sleep positioners, about one a year.

The AP story is here and the official warning is here. There have been similar warnings about crib “bumpers,” thin cushions placed around the inside of a crib’s slats: they can look cute but have also been reported to pose a suffocation risk.

Pediatricians strongly recommend that babies be placed to sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS, and the positioners — which are widely sold, from to Target — are marketed as helpful in keeping babies face up. But the New York Times reports:

“To date, there is no scientifically sound evidence that infant sleep positioners prevent SIDS,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the F.D.A.’s principal deputy commissioner.