LAKELAND, Florida - Tampa Bay has seen two recent cases of babies allegedly dying at the hands of their fathers, who police said were frustrated at their crying children.
With April being Child Abuse Awareness Month, we wanted to focus on the issue.
On Friday, police arrested 20-year-old Jacob Hartley after they say he shook his 3-week-old infant son and killed him. According to authorities, the child's mother found him unresponsive and bleeding from the nose at their home along Stoneway Drive.
And just days before, authorities arrested 27-year-old Christopher Ryon in Winter Haven for allegedly punching and killing his 3-month-old daughter.
"It's just breaking everybody's heart, because we've all been working so hard to try to get the education out there and yet it's still happening," said Janet Goree.
Goree is behind Florida's Kimberlin West Act of 2002, named after her granddaughter, who was shaken by her father in 1993 and later died. Under the act, hospitals and birthing facilities are required to educate new parents about the dangers of shaking babies. Goree says for young men especially, no one really teaches them how to care for infants.
"I do think if we can teach alternatives of what to do when you get frustrated, and empower young men that it's really OK to put that baby down and let the baby cry if he's fed and he's not dirty, he's going to be OK," said Goree.
Goree added that parents should have a plan on what to do to calm down before dealing with the baby. It could have made all the difference in the recent Bay area cases.
Goree said the state funding she was getting to go into the hospitals and train nurses about getting the information out on Shaken Baby Syndrome has since been pulled. She thinks more needs to be done to possibly include fining hospitals that don't comply with the law to educate parents.