Shaken Baby Syndrome
Studies estimate that fifteen percent of children?s deaths are due to battering or shaking and an additional fifteen percent are possible cases of shaking. Shaken Baby Syndrome victims range in age from a couple of days to a few months old, but six months is the average. Statistics show that one shaken baby in four dies. In the year 95-96, thirteen babies out of thirty-seven died from a combination of Shaken Baby Syndrome and head trauma in the state of Florida. More than sixty percent of the victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome are male and almost eighty percent of the perpetrators of Shaken Baby Syndrome are male. Fifty percent of offenders of the Shaken Baby Syndrome are the babies? natural parents, seventeen percent are the mother?s boyfriends, six percent are the stepparents, and ten percent are others: such as babysitters. Shaken Baby Syndrome is a type of abuse that severely hurts a child and causes many consequences for the baby and the families of the people involved.
?Shaking Baby Syndrome (SBS), also called Shaken Baby Syndrome, is one of the leading killers of infants. Sadly it is also 100% preventable.? (The Essential Infant Resource for Moms. 2007-2010). The Shaken Baby Syndrome is a type of inflicted painful brain injury that happens when a baby is violently shaken. Infants have very weak neck muscles and large and heavy heads in proportion to their bodies. The infant brain is immature and needs room to grow; there is naturally a space between the skull and brain to allow for development. Shaking an infant can cause the brain to move within the skull, resulting in cerebral contusions, bruising of brain tissue, and shearing of blood vessels. Injuries associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome include bleeding around the brain (subdural hemorrhages), bleeding in the eyes (retinal hemorrhages), and spinal cord or neck injures.
Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs because a parent or caregiver is frustrated or angry with a child, frequently when the child is crying. When a parent or caregiver shakes a crying baby, the baby may stop crying because of the injury caused by the shaking. The caretaker may then continue to shake the baby when it starts crying because the abuser will think that shaking the baby is what caused the baby to quit crying. Sometimes Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs when the parent throws a small child into the air, plays too rough, or hits an infant too hard on the back, not knowing the seriousness of that behavior of the harm it may possibly cause.
According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, doctors often fail to recognize the cause of head trauma in children who were victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome because the children usually do not exhibit eternal signs of injury. Researchers found that if a child had normal respiration, no seizures, no scalp or facial injury, and came from an intact family, the probability that abusive head trauma would be recognized was less than one in five. Some symptoms of the Shaken Baby Syndrome include: head turned to one side, unable to lift or turn head, pinpointed, dilated, or unequal size pupils, blood pooling in the eyes, pupils unresponsive to light, bulging or spongy forehead, no smiling or vocalization, poor sucking or swallowing, rigidity, semi-consciousness, lethargy, or decreased muscle tone, difficulty breathing, seizures or spasms, and swelling of the head may appear later on in the child?s life.
Emergency treatment for a shaken baby includes life-sustaining measures such as respiratory support and surgery to stop internal bleeding and bleeding in the brain. To make a more definite diagnosis doctors may use scans, such as, MRI and CT. Infants with injuries of Shaken Baby Syndrome require emergency care, including respiratory support and surgery. Often these infants require draining of the blood around the brain to decrease the ongoing brain injuries associated with brain swelling. Additional treatments may be required as well, including ophthalmologic and neurological evaluations. Shaken Baby Syndrome first described, as a syndrome in 1974, can be fatal: approximately one shaken baby in four dies from the injuries. Those who survive may suffer blindness caused by bleeding around the brain and eyes, or disabling brain damage, including mental retardation (mild to severe), paralysis, seizure disorder, speech and learning impairments, neck and back damage, and dislocated bones.
Infants who have suffered injuries as a result of this type of child abuse have