Niagara Gazette — Shaken Baby Syndrome, also known as Abusive Head Trauma, is a form of child abuse in which a caregiver vigorously shakes a child, thereby resulting in traumatic brain injury.
Shaking a baby forces the baby’s head to whip back and forth, causing blood vessels in the brain and eyes to pull, tear and bleed.
The majority of Shaken Baby Syndrome victims are under two years of age with the highest rate of cases occurring to babies between six and eight weeks old when they tend to cry the most.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Shaken Baby Syndrome has devastating impacts on babies and results in death for one in five cases. Two-thirds of infants who survive this trauma sustain significant, lifelong disabilities including blindness, seizures, severe developmental delays and speech, memory and learning difficulties.
These traumatic injuries most often occur when a caregiver becomes frustrated by a baby’s crying and shakes the baby out of anger. About 70 percent Shaken Baby Syndrome perpetrators are men – often a baby’s father or the mother’s boyfriend.
Finding ways to alleviate caregiver stress when babies are crying can significantly reduce the risk of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
If your baby does not stop crying, try some of these tips:
• Check for signs of illness (fever, swollen gums)
• Be sure all needs are met (baby has been changed and fed)
These soothing ideas may not work every time, but can reduce baby’s fussing a bit:
• Hold your baby close with skin-to-skin contact
• Turn on some soothing music or white noise
• Give baby a warm bath
• Take your baby for a walk or a drive in the car
• Nurse baby, or give the baby a bottle or pacifier to suck on
• Swing or rock baby in a chair or baby swing