The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the training materials of a shaken baby syndrome (SBS) prevention programme produced in Western Sydney, Australia, when used with parents in Turkey, and to evaluate the best timing for this training. In this intervention study, a total of 545 mothers, 39.8 per cent of whom were in the first 48hours after birth (group 1), 43.1 per cent three to seven days after birth (group 2) and 17.1 per cent pregnant (group 3), were tested before and after watching the educational film, for evaluation of their perception, and knowledge of and attitudes towards SBS. The total points measuring the levels of knowledge of shaking hazards changed from an average of 5.02.2 pre-intervention to 6.41.7 post-intervention (p=0.001). There was no statistically significant difference between the groups in the pre-test score, whereas in the post-test score group one was significantly lower than the other groups (p=0.001). In conclusion, training using the SBS Prevention Program was useful for mothers; their level of knowledge about the dangers of shaking increased. Education given prior to the birth and three to seven days after the birth was found to be more useful than during the immediate postnatal period. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.