Shaken baby Syndrome

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Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines within all religions and at all levels of education. Child abuse being a preventable cause we as society , individuals , parents and caregivers  needs to be emotionally intelligent to identify our emotions of  stress, anger , frustration , depression, unhappiness at right time  to handle them appropriately.Handling our emotions appropriately  will prevent us from  taking out our frustration and anger  through inadvertent methods on to the tiny little, not so strong and innocent children.

Shaken baby syndrome is one such life threatening, preventable abusive head trauma.


What is shaken baby syndrome?


Shaken baby syndrome is a kind of child abuse where child is shaken by someone leading to serious brain injury.

It is also known as abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome.

Age group affected : Under  5 years however infants are more commonly affected .

Predisposing causes:

Young or single parenthood


Domestic violence

Alcohol or substance abuse

Unstable family


A history of abuse as a child

When parents or caregivers out of frustration, anger or if  the baby won’t stop crying tend to shake the toddler.


Babies in infancy have weak neck muscles and if baby is shaken forcefully, babies brain moves back and forth inside the skull leading to bruising , swelling and bleeding .

Normal play, such as bouncing a child on a knee or gently tossing a child in the air, does not cause shaken baby syndrome.

Symptoms and signs:


Child may appear normal but over a period of repeated shaking can develop some learning and behavioral changes .

A child may have

Extreme irritability


Breathing problems

Poor eating


Pale color



Trouble hearing.

Bleeding inside one or both eyes.



May have other signs of child abuse like bruises, burns , fractures etc.

How to diagnose ?


A thorough medical history , followed by a detail physical exam to look for

signs of injury , an increased blood pressure.

A CT scan or an MRI to look for bleeding or other injury in the brain.

X-rays to check for fractures.

An eye exam can reveal bleeding and other eye injuries.

Some blood tests to rule out some metabolic and genetic disorders,some

bleeding and clotting disorders that can lead to similar presentation.

What are long term effects?


Partial or total blindness

Hearing loss

Developmental delays, learning problems or behavior issues

Mental retardation

Seizure disorders

Cerebral palsy

Coma and death.

Treatment will include life saving measures , may require breathing

support and methods to stop bleeding in brain and methods to reduce the

swelling in brain.


How to prevent It ?

We can prevent this problem by teaching parents healthy ways to relieve stress and anger.

To carefully choose child care provider.

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