Texas Safe Babies

The Safe Babies project evaluates hospital and clinic-based interventions that are designed to prevent maltreatment, especially abusive head trauma, in the first year after birth. Safe Babies is currently focused on three main projects. The collective purpose of all of the Safe Babies projects is to develop a strong evidence base that leads to wide-scale implementation of education that supports positive parenting and provides tools to help parents cope with the difficult aspects of caring for an infant.  

  • The first project is a population-level evaluation of abusive head trauma education that is already being implemented in hospitals. This project will investigate rates of physical abuse, specifically abusive head trauma, among infants born at hospital using this education before and after the hospital implemented the program. The project will also include a state-wide investigation of how hospitals provide this education, which will provide guidance for developing a “learning collaborative” that works to reduce variance in how the education is provided.

  • The second project is focused on evaluating the effectiveness of providing in-hospital education to the father or male caregiver at the birth of the baby. This education will focus on abusive head trauma reduction, post-partum mental health awareness for him and mom, infant safety, and the important role a male caregiver has in the infant’s life.

  • The third project is being conducted in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine. This project is designed to evaluate whether prevention education focused on maternal mental health, abusive head trauma reduction, life stress reduction, and positive coping strategies with difficult infant behavior can provide complimentary messaging that builds parents’ knowledge and support positive parental behavior. The goal is to develop a prevention package that addresses several risks factors of infant maltreatment and can be implemented on a state-wide scale.

For more information contact: Dorothy Mandell

Contract Partners: The Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) contracts with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. Subcontracts with UT System, UT School of Public Health, and Baylor College of Medicine.