Lacie Lowry, News On 6
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -- A Broken Arrow high schooler is rallying her classmates around a tough issue -- shaken baby syndrome.
She wants to spread awareness with other teens -- now that she babysits for a family who lost their first child to that type of abuse.
Erin Thomas didn't know how many students would actually come to a speech about never shaking a baby.
"I didn't expect very many the first day, I only expected maybe 20 kids. When they just kept coming in, they counted 90," Thomas said.
It was so successful, she scheduled this second speech at Broken Arrow High School and just as many kids showed up.
"It's something that is so preventable and so I just wanted to raise awareness," she said.
Thomas got the idea after meeting Daniel and Amber Brafford, who lost their son Davis to Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Davis died in July of 2008 after he was shaken and suffered a blow to the head. His stepmom, Shiloh Brafford, was convicted in his murder. Thomas now babysits Daniel and Amber's other children.
"I've definitely learned a lot about just the effects of it, I didn't realize it actually stays for such a long time," Thomas said.
Karen Harvey with the Parent Child Center of Tulsa explained to students that 1500 babies are shaken every year and many of them die.
"We just want people to know that this is a preventable form of child abuse and this is a great population to start with," said Karen Harvey, Parent Child Center of Tulsa.
Harvey demonstrated the effects of shaking a baby on a specially made doll. The doll has lights that show all the damaged areas of an infant's brain after being shaken.
"Just really hit it home that you can put a crying baby down and walk away for five or ten minutes - that's not going to hurt them," Harvey said.
Amber Brafford attended the speech. She says if just one child is saved and one family spared the same heartbreak, it's a success.
Additonal Facts about Shaken Baby Syndrome: