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What is The Shaken Baby Syndrome

shaken-baby-syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a serious and potentially fatal form of child abuse that can occur when an infant or young child is violently shaken, usually out of frustration by a caregiver, in an attempt to stop the baby from crying or fussing. This kind of child abuse can lead to serious health complications, including brain & blood vessels damage, severe trauma, long-term disability and even death if not treated immediately.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is also known as Abusive Head Trauma (AHT).

Crying is a normal behaviour in babies. Your infant may cry inconsolably at times. Shaking, hitting or throwing a baby is never OK. Parents, guardians and caregivers need to be aware of the reasons, signs, symptoms and consequences of SBS, so they can seek medical help if their child shows any sign of distress.

The shaken baby syndrome affects too many babies and young children and must be prevented by taking proper prior knowledge of how to handle babies and learning to manage stress.

 

REASONS & CONDITIONS: Why shaken baby syndrome happen ?

People often shake infants unaware of The Shaken Baby Syndrome and its consequences either to stop babies from crying, make them sleep or play roughly to make the baby laugh. Here I am sharing five common circumstances in which babies are shaken and regretted later by parents, guardians, nannies and caretakers.

1. Lack of knowledge and understanding about shaken baby syndrome

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One of the primary reasons why a caregiver may shake a baby due to frustration and anger. This can stem from feeling overwhelmed by the infant’s cries, inability to soothe or calm them, or finding it difficult to cope with their persistent needs. Moreover, if the caregiver feels ill-equipped in terms of knowledge and understanding about how to raise a baby properly, this can lead to an increase in agitation and stress that could lead to shaking an infant out of desperation or rashness.

2. Sleep Deprivation

sleep deprived mom

Another factor that can contribute to the shaken baby syndrome is parental fatigue or exhaustion caused by lack of sleep. Taking care of an infant involves many sleepless nights, which can make parents and guardians feel drained both physically and mentally. In such cases, the caregiver may be tempted to resort to violent means such as shaking a baby out of sheer frustration caused by extreme tiredness.

3. Childhood trauma and difficulty in managing emotions

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Moreover, childhood trauma experienced by the caregiver themselves could be another contributing factor leading them to shake an infant as they may not have had a positive experience with children during their own childhood that was filled with abuse and neglect. This can result in caregivers having difficulty managing their emotions around babies while increasing their chances of perpetrating shaken baby syndrome due to unresolved feelings from past experiences.

4. Substance Abuse

Furthermore, substance abuse is another reason why people might shake babies as drugs and alcohol can impair judgement leading people into making dangerous decisions while under its influence which includes shaking infants. People who are addicted often lack self-control when sober which makes it even harder for them not to lose control when intoxicated as addiction affects impulse control making it more likely for caregivers to shake babies when impaired on substances or alcohol rather than calming them down naturally or seeking help from other sources such as family members or medical professionals

5. Cultural traditions

Lastly, cultural traditions may also drive caregivers towards shaking infants for various reasons such as expecting them not to show any signs of emotion or crying like adults do when reprimanded or told off which unfortunately leads parents into believing these actions are acceptable ways of disciplining children even at a young age resulting in physical harm inflicted onto them through violent acts like shaking while trying to harden up the child so they don’t cry at all costs despite knowing full well this could cause excessive harm if done too harshly over time.

CONSEQUENCES of The Shaken Baby Syndrome

The shaken baby syndrome is a heartbreaking reality among too many parents. Just a few seconds of shaking can be enough to cause permanent injury and the following consequences:

  1. Permanent brain injury and neurological problems such as cerebral palsy, seizures, learning disabilities and hearing loss

  2. Blindness or vision impairment

  3. Paralysis of limbs and other body parts

  4. Chronic medical conditions such as respiratory failure and infections

  5. Death due to massive head injuries

Parents must remain calm when the baby gets upset—loud noises or overreacting won’t help anyone. Taking time for yourself outside of the baby’s care can also greatly reduce stress and the likelihood of shaking. Parents should learn how to be calm and practise cal-parenting while with babies or young children. Unfortunately, shaken baby syndrome still happens too often, but hopefully, we can advocate awareness and prevent more tragedies from happening in the future.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF THE SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME

Signs and symptoms of the shaken baby syndrome can vary greatly depending on the severity of the shaking and the age of the infant or child. Common signs and symptoms include:

1. Irritability, excessive crying or difficulty comforting

crying baby

The shaken baby syndrome can cause extreme irritability in children as a result of brain injury. In some cases, they may be unable to be consoled even with familiar people and objects, crying incessantly and exhibiting signs of distress.

2. Lethargy/lack of energy

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The shaken baby syndrome can cause lethargy and a lack of energy due to brain trauma. Even minor forms of head trauma caused by shaking can lead to fatigue, sleepiness, poor coordination, decreased motor control and other issues that affect overall energy levels.

3. Seizures

One of the most common signs associated with the shaken baby syndrome is seizures which occur when an electrical disturbance spreads throughout the brain tissue causing involuntary muscle contractions or convulsions. Seizures can range from mild to severe depending on their intensity and duration.

4. Changes in vision

Trauma to the eyes caused by shaking can lead to changes in vision such as blurry vision, light sensitivity (photophobia), double vision (diplopia) or even complete loss of sight.

5. Fluid accumulation around the brain (cerebral edema)

cerebral-edema

When a baby’s head is violently rocked back and forth during a shake, it can result in fluid buildup around the brain resulting in swelling which creates pressure on delicate tissues leading to further damage. This is one of the most dangerous effects associated with shaken baby syndrome that requires immediate medical attention for proper treatment and management.

Unfortunately shaken baby syndrome remains difficult to detect and diagnose due to its varied and unusual symptoms; but caregivers need to remember that shaken baby syndrome can cause irreparable harm – so if your little one isn’t calming down no matter how frustrated you are, it doesn’t hurt to take a deep breath, keep baby at safe place and seek help.

RUSH TO THE HOSPITAL

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If you think your little one has been shaken or you see any signs of the shaken baby syndrome, don’t delay and get them to the hospital right away. The shaken baby syndrome is a serious medical condition that can cause both short- and long-term damage. Unfortunately, the shaken baby syndrome is often deliberately inflicted on an infant or young child by an adult, so it’s important to act quickly and take baby to the hospital in emergency.

Early medical attention can help minimize the damage caused by the shaken baby syndrome. So if you ever suspect your child might have suffered from shaken baby syndrome – please reach out for help and support as soon as possible.

PREVENTION – How to avoid shaken baby syndrome ?

Prevention of the shaken baby syndrome is better than life-long guilt. Also, SBS is 100% preventable. It’s important to remember that shaken baby syndrome is incredibly serious. Even a gentle shake can cause permanent long-term damage or even death to a young child.

Consequently, parents, guardians and caregivers need to know the most effective ways to avoid shaking a baby in the first place.

1. STEP AWAY

Shaken baby syndrome

One of the best methods is to never do so in anger or frustration. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is step away and take a few deep breaths before continuing with whatever task you were doing with your baby.

2. MEDICAL SUPPORT

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If you are stressed out, ask for support from medical professionals who are specially trained to help manage these situations without resorting to baby abuse.

3. FAMILY SUPPORT

When life is throwing too much your way, it can be really hard not to feel burned out. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to a friend, family member or any help available for some extra support.

4. PROCESS YOUR EMOTIONS

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Instead of taking out the stress on a baby and causing shaken baby syndrome–make sure you find a healthier way to process emotions. Ask for help from someone who understands how you feel and can offer valuable advice, rather than facing it all alone and potentially putting a child’s safety at risk through an act of baby abuse or neglect.

5. PLAY GENTLY WITH INFANTS & YOUNG CHILDREN

 

The shaken baby syndrome can even happen when playing with a baby. If you are frustrated or angry, do not take out your frustration on the baby because this can cause long-term damage to their brain. It is important to be careful and gentle when playing with babies and never shake them.

6. AWARENESS ABOUT THE SHAKEN BABY SYNDROME

Shaken baby syndrome is a serious issue that we need to take action against. To start preventing shaken baby syndrome, we must first bring awareness to the issue. It is essential that people understand the signs, symptoms and effects of shaken baby syndrome. This knowledge will help parents, caregivers and health care providers identify shaken baby cases quickly so they can provide treatment as soon as possible. Also, it is important to recognize when young caretakers or parents may be getting frustrated, so that shaken baby syndrome can be prevented in the first place. Together we can make a difference in preventing shaken baby syndrome and create a better world for our children.

 

Positions to Avoid Shaken Baby Syndrome while playing?

Parents, guardians and caregivers must understand the risks associated with shaking an infant or young child as well as the positions they should avoid preventing this life-threatening form of abuse.

1. UPSIDE DOWN

One of the most life-threatening positions for a baby is being held upside down. This type of position puts the infant’s head in a vulnerable position. The gravity can cause bleeding in the brain and hence SBS. Mostly traditional massagers hold baby in upside down position which should be avoided totally.

upside down baby

2. HIGH SPEED UP-DOWN & BACK-FORTH

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Additionally, bouncing a baby up and down at high speeds or swaying them back and forth at high speeds can also put their brains at risk due to sudden changes in acceleration forces.

 

3. QUCKLY TOSSING & SPINNING

It’s particularly important to avoid rough play that involves tossing the baby up into the air or spinning them around quickly; any kind of movement that causes their head to swing wildly could lead to serious injury. Even rocking chairs should be used carefully, if rocked too fast it can lead to shaken baby syndrome.

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4. JERKY GAMES

Parents should be aware of games like “aeroplane” where a baby is held horizontally and “flying” through the air. This type of activity increases the risk of SBS as this cause sudden acceleration forces on baby’s neck and head region.

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5. THROWING BABY IN THE AIR

Other dangerous activities include throwing a baby into the air while holding them under their arms or carrying them on one’s shoulders while running around; these activities are especially risky because they involve rapid changes in gravitational forces which could cause permanent damage or even death in some cases.

SBS

6. GENTLE HANDLING

Finally, caregivers need to recognise that SBS does not only occur during violent outbursts; even seemingly harmless activities such as changing diapers can be hazardous if done improperly. Sometimes careless diaper-changing can cause minor injuries like bruises and scrapes. It is important for all caretakers and parents to practice safe handling techniques whenever possible to protect babies from any potential harm associated with SBS(Shaken Baby Syndrome).

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the shaken baby syndrome is a devastating condition that can have life-altering consequences. It’s important to know what causes it and how to identify it so that you can get help for your child as soon as possible. There are many ways to prevent shaking a baby, such as getting extra help from family and friends if you feel overwhelmed by their cries or any other stressful situation.

If any child has been shaken, take him/her to the hospital right away to avoid complications. Prevention is always the best approach but if it happens despite your best efforts, seek medical attention immediately. The most important thing to remember is that crying babies are better than shaken ones – so if you are starting to feel lost and helpless reach out for help without resorting to extreme measures like shaking a baby in frustration or anger. This way we can prevent another tragedy from happening and make sure that children all around the world have a safe and healthy future ahead of them!

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