Shaken baby syndrome

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Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a form of Child Abuse caused by someone vigorously shaking an infant or small child. It only takes a few seconds and a few shakes in anger, maybe because the child doesn’t stop crying, to bring about permanent damage, or even death to an innocent life.


[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

Majority of shaken babies are males and most of the perpetrators too are males. They are usually usually either the baby's father or the mother's boyfriend, often someone in his early 20s.

In the US almost 25 percent of the shaken babies who are brought for treatment die. And the rest are left with lifelong disabilities. Though shaken baby syndrome takes place among children before they are six months old, infants and toddlers up to three years of age can suffer severe injuries too if shaken violently.

[edit] Shaken baby and health

Infants are not able to control their neck muscles and when a parent or a care-giver shakes an infant, the infant's brain pounds against its skull and often causes irreparable damage.

A baby's brain is more fragile than an egg. Shaking a baby, even for a few seconds, can cause life-threatening brain damages. Shaking bursts the blood vessels in its retinas and brain hemorrhages cause bleeding inside and outside the outer membrane. The pressure thus caused on the delicate membranes eventually result in seizures, unconsciousness and even death.

There can be even greater damage if the shaking is followed by an impact such as hitting a wall or a crib mattress.

Surviving children may suffer from

  • partial or total blindness
  • hearing loss
  • seizures
  • developmental delays
  • impaired intellect
  • speech and learning difficulties
  • problems with memory and attention
  • severe mental retardation
  • paralysis

[edit] Signs And Symptoms

The duration and force of the shaking has a bearing on the infant’s injuries. In the most violent cases, children may arrive at the emergency room unconscious, suffering seizures, or in shock.

Less severe cases of shaking a baby may experience:

  • lethargy
  • irritability
  • vomiting
  • poor sucking or swallowing
  • decreased appetite
  • lack of smiling or vocalizing
  • rigidity
  • seizures
  • difficulty breathing
  • altered consciousness
  • unequal pupil size
  • an inability to lift the head
  • an inability to focus the eyes or track movement

[edit] What can I do about it?

There are ways to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome as follows.

Take him for a walk in his stroller when his crying goes out of control as babies are soothed by the rolling motion. The stroll can be taken outside or within the house. Patience is required as it may not be possible to calm him down within minutes.

Certain types of sounds, like those of a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner often helps calm babies. Many can be put to sleep if taken for a drive or when they are placed in a swing.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Shaken baby syndrome - Is it child abuse?
  • Shaken baby syndrome

[edit] Additional Information

  • Visit Shaken Baby Alliance and report an abuse