South Carolina Aims To Educate Parents On Safe Sleeping Habits For Babies

A new state law requires hospitals to show parents a short film promoting safe sleep habits for newborn babies. 

Parents are already required to watch a video about shaken baby syndrome, which may cause brain injury if infants are handled roughly. But research shows unsafe sleep habits can be just as deadly.

In South Carolina an average of six infants die every month due to dangerous sleep practices.

In fact, babies are 18 times more likely to die from a sleep-related accident than in a motor vehicle crash, said Melanie “BZ” Giese, director of the South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative.

It isn’t a problem unique to South Carolina, she said. 

“It’s universally a problem in other states,” Giese said. 

Experts agree the safest sleep environment for infants is on their back in an empty crib. Decorative crib bumpers, stuffed animals, toys, pillows and blankets can be deadly. 

“The crib should be bare,” the American Academy of Pediatrics explained when the group updated its sleep recommendations in 2016. 

AAP recommends babies sleep in the same room as their parents, but not in the same bed, which may be dangerous.

Likewise, infants are also at risk if they fall asleep on a couch or while breastfeeding.

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Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at or you can click here.

Fort Benton Step-Grandmother Gets 3-Year Sentence For Shaking A Baby

A 14-month-old baby’s life expectancy has been reduced to just 30 years after he was repeatedly shaken by his step-grandmother, according to a pediatrician who testified at the sentencing on Tuesday. 

Jennie Lee Luraas, 46, was charged last June in Chouteau County District Court with assault on a minor for reportedly shaking the baby regularly to pull him out of seizures.

The infant was born addicted to opioids, which caused the Department of Family Services to place the boy with Luraas in the first place, Lindi Bjornson, the boy’s paternal grandmother, told the Tribune.

On Tuesday, Judge Daniel Boucher sentenced Luraas to 10 years with the Montana Department of Corrections with seven suspended. 

As part of her sentence, Luraas must also register as a violent offender. 

A DOC commitment can mean one of several things: Luraas may be sentenced to the women’s prison for three years, or she may spend that time with an ankle monitor out of custody.

Bjornson had asked the judget for a 20-year sentence in the Montana Women’s Prison with 10 suspended. 

“My prayer is the DOC keeps her for three years,” Bjornson said. 

Prosecutors filed the charge against Luraas on June 9, approximately seven days after a child-protective service worker with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reported to local law enforcement of a “shaken baby” case. The boy was 3-months-old at the time.

The child had been transported to Benefis by Luraas and her husband, Todd. They had taken custody of the baby after DPHHS had removed him from his parents.

A Benefis doctor told a Chouteau County deputy the baby had suffered several internal head injuries that, in her opinion, may be crippling, according to charging documents. The doctor also noted one of the head injuries appeared to be older than the others. She said the injuries appeared to be consistent with a child being shaken.

Luraas reportedly told the deputy that since she and her husband had taken custody of the boy, he had suffered several episodes of seizures, locking up and in some instances had stopped breathing. According to the deputy, Luraas said the only thing that works to get the boy out of the seizure is to put him in cold water and shake him. 

According to charging documents, Luraas demonstrated for the deputy how she grabs the baby and shakes him from side to side and back and forth. 

The baby was rendered blind as a result of the abuse. The pediatrician who testified also said the baby boy will not be able to swallow on his own, and will soon require 24/7 care. 

In February, Luraas offered to plead guilty to the original charge without a plea agreement from prosecutors. She pleaded guilty to the charge on March 6.

Federal bankruptcy records show Luraas and her husband had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy less than two months prior to the incident. According to initial filings, they owed between $50,000 and $100,000 to 69 creditors.

Chouteau County Attorney Steve Gannon was unavailable for comment on Thursday about the case. Sheriff Vern Burdick was also unavailable. 

Bjornson said she had disputed the DFS placement with Luraas and Todd, Bjornson’s ex-husband, prior to the incident.

“It’s just been really tough,” Bjornson said. “He’s a beautiful baby.”

Bjornson said she will make an effort to advocate for mandatory sentences in such cases, as well as better education for mothers, DFS placement guardians and DFS workers. 

“It’s probably one of the most horrific things that can happen to a family,” she said. “I just got home to Minnesota yesterday, and I cried for 900 miles.”

This article was originally published by the Grand Falls Tribune.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at or you can click here.

Logan Core, Shaken Baby Survivor

Logan Core, a teenager from Water Valley, has one wish – to receive birthday cards for his Sweet 16 on April 21.

Core is a typical child in many ways. He loves cartoons, superheroes and all things Spongebob Squarepants. However, the things that make him different, and his positive attitude, are what make him remarkable.

The course of Logan’s life was changed on March 30, 2003, when he became a victim of shaken baby syndrome at the hands of his biological father. Core was 11 months old at the time, and his mother, Miranda Core, was given a bleak prognosis. Her son was left with 80 percent brain damage, a severe form of epilepsy, a broken leg and severe damage to his optical nerves. The injuries, doctors said, were the equivalent of falling 10 stories and landing on his head.

While the family didn’t know what the future would hold for Logan, Miranda refused to let her son’s story go untold. Since that day, she has devoted her life to advocating for her son and other victims of SBS, as well as making sure abusers are punished to the fullest extent of the law.

“Logan’s voice was taken from him, and as his mother it is my job to be a voice for him, to make sure he gets what he needs in school and life,” Miranda said. “It is also important to me that I raise awareness and tell Logan’s story, as it is a story that sadly matches so many other children.”

At the time, Logan’s abuser was given the maximum prison sentence for child abuse, 20 years. However, he served less than nine years, and was released on parole. Outraged that child abusers could walk free while many victims are sentenced to live with their injuries, Miranda and her husband, Nick, worked with state lawmakers to pass “Logan’s Law” in 2005.

The law gives judges the option to sentence child abusers to life in prison, and makes a life sentence mandatory for repeat offenders.

Today, Logan is wheelchair bound and legally blind, although he has regained a little vision over the years. He has cerebral palsy and is considered receptive yet nonverbal, as his speech is equivalent to a toddler. However limited he may seem, Miranda said Logan understands more than he’s given credit for.

“Often, people who do not know Logan have a tendency to baby talk him. This is quickly met with agitation from Logan, as well as him telling them to stop,” she said. “He understands much of what is said to him on the level that a young child would, and while he cannot speak more than a few one to two word phrases, he has no problem getting his point across through a combination of the words he does say, facial expression, vocal tone and body language.”

His speech and motor skills are limited, but Miranda said she and Nick, whom she calls a blessing, strive to make sure Logan has as normal a life as possible, whether he’s at his special needs school or at home with his younger sister, 5-year-old Marley.

Although the road hasn’t been easy, both Logan and Miranda have found a support group of thousands, thanks to their SBS advocacy page on Facebook. That community, Miranda said, is one way to share their family’s journey and hopefully, prevent more children from getting hurt.

“The best solution for preventing shaken baby syndrome is to raise awareness and educate parents and caregivers about the dangers of shaking,” she said. “It is our hope that by sharing Logan’s story through his Facebook group ‘Logan’s Journey – Shaken Baby Survivor,’ that we are both raising awareness about shaken baby syndrome and its consequences and are also offering encouragement to others who may share this journey.”

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Logan’s birthday, April 21, falls during Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Week. Miranda said the decision to incorporate birthday cards for Logan into their mission to advocate for those with SBS is to show Logan just how much he matters to others.

“Logan won’t get to celebrate this milestone 16th birthday like other kids his age. He won’t get his first after-school job, he won’t be getting his driver’s license and he will not drive his father and I crazy wanting a car, just to name a few things,” she said. “Instead, what we are hoping for is that we can flood him with cards, nothing fancy, just cards from all over to show him how loved he is.”

A family friend hosted a similar birthday card drive for him a few years ago, resulting in over 450 cards and gifts, as well as the creation of a support group.

This year, especially, is one when cards are needed. Last week, the family’s beloved dog, Macy, passed away, leaving everyone, especially Logan, heartbroken. According to Miranda, Macy had been Logan’s companion since about six months after his injury, rarely leaving his side.

Logan has faced what some would consider insurmountable obstacles. In spite of his limitations, he still manages to bring positive energy to those around him.

“Logan struggles with an array of medical problems, yet he still finds a way to smile and bring joy to those who know him,” Miranda said. “He has overcome so many odds and is truly such a bright spot in our lives that we just want to make his day as special as he is.”

Those wanting to send cards for Logan’s birthday can mail them to 8947 County Road 224, Water Valley, MS 38965. To join Logan’s Facebook support group, visit

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Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at or you can click here.