Prevent Child Abuse Offers comprehensive training sessions for individuals about shaken baby syndrome, why it happens, and how to prevent it. The course emphasizes on skills to cope with a crying baby and the health consequences that result when a baby is shaken.
For more information about training sessions, please contact our main office.
What is Shaken Baby Syndrome? When a baby is vigorously shaken, the head moves back and forth. This sudden whiplash motion can cause bleeding inside the head and increased pressure on the brain, causing the brain to pull apart and resulting in injury to the baby. This is known as Shaken Baby Syndrome, and is one of the leading forms of fatal child abuse. A baby's head and neck are susceptible to head trauma because his or her muscles are not fully developed and the brain tissue is exceptionally fragile. Head trauma is the leading cause of disability among abused infants and children.
Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs most frequently in infants younger than six months old, yet can occur up to the age of three. Often there are no obvious outward signs if inside injury, particularly in the head or behind the eyes. In reality, shaking a baby, if only for a few seconds, can injure the baby for life. These injuries can include brain swelling and damage; cerebral palsy; mental retardation; developmental delays; blindness; hearing loss; paralysis and death. When a child is shaken in anger and frustration, the force is multiplied five or 10 times than it would be if the child had simply tripped and fallen.
How does it happen?
Often frustrated parents or other persons responsible for a child's care feel that shaking a baby is a harmless way to make a child stop crying. The number one reason a baby is shaken is because of inconsolable crying. Almost 25 percent of all babies with Shaken Baby Syndrome die. It is estimated that 25-50 percent of parents and caretakers aren't aware of the effects of shaking a baby.
What can you do to prevent a tragedy?
If you or someone else shakes a baby, either accidentally or on purpose, call 911 or take the child to the emergency room immediately. Bleeding in side the brain can be treated. Immediate medical attention will save your baby many future problems . . . and possibly the baby's life.
Tips for Parents: