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Rash of shaken baby cases raising concern

With a sudden surge in damage to infants from shaken baby syndrome, the Erie County Social Services Department is trying to get the word out that there is help in the community for stressed out parents. Social Services Commissioner Carol Dankert-Maurer says there have been four cases of shaken baby incidents in the last 45 days and 12 so far this year.

One incident involves a three-month old who is in Women and Children's Hospital allegedly blinded by his own father in a violent shaking. Alex Mercado, 21, was in City Court Thursday facing a Grand Jury on initial felony charges including assault second and reckless assault on a child.

Dankert-Maurer says younger parents can be overwhelmed, at times.

"You'll see that there are some common factors in that young parents and parents really who just haven't worked out enough supports...are not in a position where they able to manage the stress," she said.

Dankert-Maurer says there are many agencies which can help stressed out parents, especially the Family Help Center at (716) 892-2172. She says if a neighbor hears dangerous noises, that person can call 911 and police can investigate and see if there is a serious problem.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.