ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Male caregivers are responsible for two-thirds of child deaths and near-fatal injuries in Minnesota, according to a new study.

The Child Mortality Review Board carried out the state-mandated study by researching more than 200 preventable deaths of Minnesota children between 2005 and 2009. In most of them, the children were being cared for by unemployed fathers, stepfathers or boyfriends of the mothers. Half of the incidents involved children less than 1 year old.

A report by Minnesota Public Radio on the study said the most common cause of death was abusive head trauma or shaken baby syndrome. State law requires new parents to watch a video on how vulnerable babies’ brains are to shaking or blunt force before they leave the hospital. And health care providers bring up the topic at every well-baby visit until children are 3 years old.

Many who end up serving as caregivers don’t receive any kind of training, said Erin Sullivan Sutton, assistant commissioner for children and family services for the state Department of Human Services.

“If the person doesn’t have experience caring for infants, that’s not a good situation,” Sullivan Sutton said.

Much of the abuse occurs when adults become frustrated by a child’s crying, feeding, sleeping or toileting problems.

“We see kids are crying because they’re hungry, kids are crying because they have soiled diapers and that crying is what triggers the violence,” Sullivan Sutton said.

Becky Dale, interim director of Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, said the whole community needs to be educated on what it takes to care for a child.

“It’s a really fast learning curve when you become a parent,” Dale said.

The report didn’t mention child development education before people become parents, and that training should come much earlier, Dale said. Junior high school students should be taught to calm a crying baby and how to arrange a baby’s bedding so as not to smother it, she said.

The study also found that women were more likely to be guilty of child neglect than men.

Fewer families have safe child care options today due to cuts in child care assistance. That’s especially true for caregivers working low-wage jobs. Between 2003 and 2009, child care spending in Minnesota dropped by one-fifth.

Better child care could help, but it won’t totally wipe out the problem, said Marcie Jeffrys, director of policy development for the Children’s Defense Fund.

The report got the attention of child protection workers, who said they’ll add new questions to their risk assessments later this year. They’ll include whether a male is caring for a child under 3 years old alone and if he’s unemployed.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (42)
  1. Sarah in Outstate MN says:

    This isn’t surprising.

    1. Jim says:

      Very sexist. This hate isn’t needed.

      1. Adam says:

        Settle down Jim….as a fellow male, i agree with Sarah…it isnt surprising. Men are typically much more violent and physical than women!!

        1. Kip Charleston says:

          Be careful Adam, Jim will shake the daylights out of you if you aggravate him.

          1. Jim says:


            I agree, but suggesting educating me about not killing my babies or neighbors, or not breaking into cars, or not paying child support really won’t change my violent tendencies will it?

            1. KracktUp Kooks says:

              It might Jim — seems any type of education sent your way would help 😉

      2. KEl says:

        this would only be sexist or hate filled if it weren’t backed up with facts. Sometimes the truth hurts but it doesnt change the fact that its the truth.

    2. Victim Du Jour says:

      Talk about fascism, the MPR building is practically connected to the department of health and human service building.

      Someone is just throwing men under the bus for government funding.

    3. Victim Du Jour says:

      Do You really need an education program to teach people not to shake babies violently?

      Next MPR will want include a tag on window Blind strings that says “warning: do not beat your kids with this product”

  2. Jim says:

    Does this mean women are better suited for the home?

  3. Mick says:

    Once again we have another male bashing article. I am sure an article proving the superiority of females will soon follow.

  4. Mark says:

    the only thing really warranted in this article would be to teach parenting earlier to males in school, and tips for women on how to NOT neglect there children.

    1. Jim says:

      How can they conclude that teaching kids about raising kids is going to halt males violent tendencies? There are tons of womens shelters and very few if any mens shelters. Facts are men are more violent. And apparently more ignorant about raising children which women apparently are born with. We should start holding women accountable for them leaving their children with violent males. Or even copulating with them from the start.

      1. Amy says:

        Yes, clearly the answer to this problem is to hold men LESS accountable for their actions and shift the responsibility elsewhere

      2. stace34 says:

        Women are not born with it we are taught how to care for others at an early age. We are taught how to care for children at an early age. Men are perfectly capable of being caring responsible caregivers as well. Some might need more education because they do not recieve as much growing up. Men are not more violent, it is just more acceptable of them to be violent. “Boys will be boys” mentality when it comes to violence rather than teaching boys how to behave and deal with issues in a better way.

  5. Hmm says:

    It isn’t bashing Males. It was a study and those were the results.

    1. JIm says:

      Couldn’t you argue that because people in relationships with stepfathers, unemployed fathers and boyfriends with children are more likely to live in poverty that this indeed is a poverty issue?

  6. Kevin #2 says:

    I think we need a State Constitutional Amendment banning heteros from marrying and having children or even being around children. . Here’s the proof. Straights are bad at marriage and worse at caring for children.

    1. William KKK says:

      hmmmm … you actually might be right so keep the yapper shut plzzzzzzzzzzzz

  7. ron says:

    well this looks really bad for men as long as you don’t add abortions to the death tally then we men look a lot better.

    1. Megan says:

      you men planted that seed so how is it your better? Just because you don’t carry it for 9 months and go through delivery doesn’t mean you didn’t have something to do with it.. Abortion is for unwanted babies, few men ever think beyond the end of their pee pees let alone if the “act” will result in a baby, Seems like most of these people should have some tubes tied!

  8. TessK says:

    I would be interested to see how many of these men are boyfriends vs fathers or stepfathers.

    And, really Ron — is everything about abortion for you? I bet your one of those who opposes abortion but opposes any support given to raising these kids. You view children as a punishment for having sex.

  9. Sven says:

    If this study that covers 200 preventable deaths over a period of 5 years shocks you please consider that abortion mills in Minnesota kill over 12,000 babies a year.

    Think about that… 12,000 of the most innocent lives could be saved every year just in our state if we would prevent abortionists from assisting mothers in murdering their innocent children.

    1. Barbie says:

      Think about it 12,000 comdoms that SHOULD have been used!

      1. Sven says:

        That would be a good start

  10. Marc Besser says:

    This short article smacks of Misadnry. Was it a true study, or a study with it’s outcome pre-determined? Typical WCCO “progressive” journalism.

  11. Victim Du Jour says:

    Babies don’t get killed enough for the media to make the false impression this is a common problem.

    The writer of this story has munchausen.

    1. Victim Du Dunce says:

      The poster of this nonsense above has parasitisamunchausen

  12. tuna-free dolphin says:

    Yeah but women spend 75% more time with the babies than men which means that as a percentage of time spent they’re actually worse. These studies are pretty meaningless anyway.

  13. Mike says:

    Huh, I always laugh at these things, Because it shows how stupid some women are. If a man is capable of shaking a baby, he would show more aggressive actions long before a baby pops out.

    And yet women avoid decent, stable men like the plauge.

    So be it.
    I have my life figured out, I know whats right, and I don’t need a women to enjoy my life.

    1. Sue says:

      just you and your hand right Mike?

      1. Mike says:

        Better than you sue.

      2. Mike says:

        Its still better than you!

        And are you implying that men are to be measuered by the amount of women they have sex with?

        That seems sexist to me……….

  14. Terrance Opine says:

    Its not about ed, but honor. When the children are in pain, I am the one who helps them. If you take care of children correct, they don’t cry. Put away the beer. My 1st wife use to hurt our daughter she did this when I went to College. A baby can’t tell on you. i found out all of this from a home Nurse I had in. I know i didn’t hit my good girl, she was and still is my life. Only the weak shake kids, makes them feel so powerful. Yes there are dead beat mothers out there too.

  15. idiocracy says:

    This is the final piece of information we needed. Now we can ban men.

  16. Victim Du Jour says:

    Most Fathers in the State of Minnesota cherish their little ones.

    Welfare moms like dating losers, and in many cases involving abuse, the parents have chemical problems.

  17. The Trend says:

    Most of these men (and yes women too) are just giving what they got from their own ignorant parents. This will continue until government eliminates the incentives they give people to make babies when they cant even take care of themselves.

  18. Victim Du Jour says:

    The Story is attempting to make a small fraction of a fraction of .005% of the male population reflects on the millions of men living in the State of Minnesota.

    This is not a common problem among Fathers.

  19. HooDatIS? says:


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