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Recent tragedy raises awareness of shaken baby syndrome

STATEWIDE (WGME) -- The Windsor man accused of violently shaking his six-month-old baby is out of jail on bail.

Kevin Peaslee is living at his parents house as part of his bail conditions.

He's charged with three counts of assault after prosecutors say he shook his six-month-old baby so violently she's blind and brain damaged.

When our crew stopped at his home Thursday afternoon to give him the chance to tell his side of the story, no one came to the door.

But the babys mother tells CBS13 News this was all an accident.

Doctors, however, say baby Aleahs injuries are exactly what they see in a shaken baby case.

Theres almost never a story of accidental injury to cause that kind of trauma, explained child abuse pediatrician Dr. Lawrence Ricci.

Dr. Ricci says he sees every shaken baby admitted to a hospital here in Maine.

If shaking is the mechanism to cause injuries, then that is not an accident, that is an intentional act, Ricci said.

He says, on average, of the 10,000 babies born in the state each year, five or six will be admitted to the hospital with shaken baby syndrome.

One of the sad side effects of shaking a baby is that it does stop them from crying, Dr. Ricci said.

He says since 1999, parents of newborns in Maine are sent home with a pamphlet and a video highlighting the devastating effects of shaking a baby.

It's part of a national campaign to help parents know what to do when they come to the end of their rope.

If you reach the point where you cant do anything more and the baby wont stop crying and you get frustrated, put the baby down and walk away, Ricci said.

He says call a friend, a family member, or a hotline, because getting aggressive with your baby is never the answer.

Its not that common an event, but when it happens the damage can be lifelong and devastating, he said.

Dr. Ricci says for every one baby who is admitted to the hospital, 10 to 50 babies are being shaken at home.

He says out of this recent tragedy comes the chance to raise awareness that those statistics need to change.