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Shaken Baby SyndromeDuring violent shaking, a baby’s brain is subjected to great shearing forces that cause permanent injury to the brain tissue, including brain swelling and bleeding about the brain. The same shearing forces may also result in blindness by causing the tiny blood vessels under the retina to bleed and separating the retina from the back of the eye. Often, there are rib fractures where the perpetrator grasped the infant about the chest during the shaking. There may also be fractures in the arms and legs caused by the arms and legs whipping back and forth during the shaking. 25-30% of victims, usually less than 12 months old, die from their injuries, while another 70% suffer from a range of brain injuries that can result in permanent disabilities ranging from cerebral palsy, paralysis, seizures, and cognitive disorders. SBS crosses every economic group, every social stratum, and every country of the world.
Although in many parts of the world child abuse statistics are non-existent and the symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome are not yet recognized by many physicians, U.S. statistics may be representative of the global problem.
- SBS accounts for more than 50% of non-accidental injuries in children and is the most common cause of death in abused children;
- It is estimated that somewhere between 1,400 and 10,000 cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome occur each year in the United States alone;
- 21-74 per 100,000 children worldwide are victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome annually. (Source: ISPCAN, 2008)
- 25%-30% of all shaken babies die from their injuries;
- The remaining 75% can suffer severe brain damage;
- Approximately 60% of SBS victims either die from their injuries at a later time or suffer lifelong disabilities;
- The younger the child, the more likely a head injury is due to abuse, such as severe shaking;
- Research shows that most victims are less than one year old and the majority are under six months old; twins have a higher chance of being shaken than single children;
- Fatal cases of SBS have occurred in five-year-olds and six-year-olds; even adults can suffer brain injuries as the result of a severe shaking;
- We know that thousands of “accidental” deaths of infants and children under 5 are attributable to severe abuse and often, shaking, which may not be apparent to parents or physicians who are unaware of Shaken Baby Syndrome and do not recognize the signs and symptoms of SBS.
The below PDF is a publication from the Pediatrics Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics report Preventing Abusive Head Trauma Among Infants and Young Children: A Hospital-Based, Parent Education Program. Mark S. Dias, Kim Smith, Kathy deGuehery, Paula Mazur, Veetai Li and Michele L. Shaffer.
|Shaken Baby Prevention-Dias Model|
|Signs and Symptoms of SBS|
|Tip Sheet for Discussing Shaken Baby Syndrome|