What is it?
It's brain injury caused by shaking.
It most often occurs in children younger than 2 but may be seen in children up to 5 years old. One shaken baby in 4 dies as a result. Those who survive have PERMANENT disabilities.
How is it Diagnosed?
Babies with severe or lethal shaken baby syndrome are usually unconscious with no visible head trauma.
The injury DOES NOT result from short falls, seizures, choking, vomiting or difficulty breathing.Various tests look for bleeding of the eyes and brain and damage to the spinal cord and ribs.
Who is Responsible for It?
Men in their early 20s who are the baby's father or the mother's boyfriend are typically the perpetrators.
Females who shake babies are more likely to be baby-sitters or childcare providers than mothers.
Is it a One-time Occurrence?
Shaken baby syndrome is UNLIKELY to be an isolated event. Evidence of prior child abuse is common.
Specific evidence of previous head injuries from shaking is found in a third of all cases.
Why does it happen?
A baby won't stop crying.
Frustration over toilet training.
The shaker is jealous of the attention the child receives from his or her partner.
Caretakers may have unrealistic expectations of children.
Lack of knowledge about shaken baby syndrome.
How can it be prevented?
Never shake a baby. Don't handle a child if you're angry. Place the baby in a safe place such as a playpen or crib.
Remember that crying may indicate hunger, illness, teething or other problems. If you can't calm the baby call your doctor.
Calm down. Call a friend or relative for support and advice. Run the vacuum cleaner to drown out the crying noise. The sound also calms some babies.
Who locally can help?
Family Services Association 222-9481
Dayton Association for Young Children 433-4808
Who can help day or night?
Montgomery County Jobs & Family Services, Children Services Division 224-KIDS(5437)
CARE House 512-1670
American Academy of Pediatrics www.aap.org