Recognizing Shaken Baby Syndrome

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

It's estimated about 1,300 cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome will occur this year alone.

Of those, one out of four of those babies typically dies, but the ones that survive generally will need continuing medical treatment for years to come.

Shaken babies typically range in age from just a few days to a few months.

So what is it that sets caregivers off? It's something babies do lots of everyday, cry.

Although it's a sound most parents and caregivers are used to, the way some people deal with it is anything but.

"Shaken baby syndrome implies not that you've been thrown against a wall or been in a car wreck, but that you've just been shaken back and forth by a caregiver who emotionally loses control," Dr. Jesse Parr with University Pediatrics said.

One of the first signs and symptoms that a baby has in fact been forcefully shaken, are the eyes.

After a baby has been forcefully shaken, he or she will have red spots or hemorrhages inside the eyeball.

Imaging of the brain also shows additional bleeding.

"The brain is Jello consistency inside a solid box, so the brain shakes back and forth inside the skull gets a direct injury from being shaken back and forth," Parr said.

A baby who survives the vicious shaking can experience delays later on.

Such as: speech, language, developmental delays, reasoning abilities, and even basic functioning.

Doctors say it's not just caregivers and babysitters that need to be aware of these harmful effects, it's anyone who looks after a child.

"None of us are superhuman we can all reach our limit, and what you have to do is when you're about to approach your limit step aside and let some other adult get involved," Parr said.

Studies show that biological fathers inflict these injuries 37 percent of the time. Boyfriends of mothers 21 percent of the time. Caregivers 17 percent, and mothers 13 percent of the time.

If you're responsible for caring for a child, the Shaken Baby Alliance has developed some simple tips you can practice that can help you better cope with a crying baby.

-Check on the child to make sure they aren't hungry or their diaper needs changing.
-Offer the infant a pacifier.
-Take the baby for a ride in the car
-If you just can't take it anymore, call a friend, relative or neighbor. Someone who can give you a break.
-If all else fails and you find yourself about to lose control, put the baby in a safe place, get away from the crying baby and get control or your emotions.

To read more tips, and get more information about Shaken Baby Syndrome click on the links below:

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