10 Nov 2022 | 4 min Read
Author | 1053 Articles
Shaken Baby Syndrome is a term used by physicians to describe abusive head trauma inflicted on infants and toddlers. It is a brain injury caused by forcefully shaking a baby or toddler. It’s also referred to as shaken impact syndrome, whiplash shaken infant syndrome, abusive head trauma or inflicted head injury.
It can cause permanent brain damage and even death, however, the shaken baby syndrome is preventable. Here’s all that you need to know.
Since babies cannot support the weight of their heads because of weak neck muscles, when a baby is forcefully shaken, their soft brain moves back and forth inside the skull, causing it to swell, bleed or bruise. If a baby is shaken severely then there are chances of the baby suffering from shaken baby syndrome.
It is never caused by tossing the baby up in the air or bouncing the baby on the knees but it occurs when a baby is shaken out of anger or frustration. The syndrome is common in infants and toddlers under the age of two when they tend to cry continuously.
Babies, especially in the initial few weeks tend to cry a lot and this can sometimes frustrate or anger the mother or the caregivers. It is advisable to stay calm and find out the reason why the baby may be crying. Most infants cry either because of colic, hunger or uncomfortable soiled diapers. You can soothe a colic baby by using a simple remedy like the tummy relief roll-on, make a note of babies feeding time to make sure the baby is not hungry and keep a check on diapers and diaper rashes to avoid the baby from crying constantly.
Some of the symptoms of the shaken baby syndrome include:
Sometimes a baby may appear to be normal but may develop problems like behavioural problems besides health problems later. While some injuries like spinal cord damage, fractures of the skull, ribs, legs etc. and bleeding in the brain may not be seen immediately.
There are three main conditions that the doctor is likely to look at for signs of the shaken baby syndrome:
The doctor may also ask for tests like a CT scan, MRI scan and a Skeletal X-ray to be done, besides a blood test.
It’s advisable to rush the baby to the hospital in case of the shaken baby syndrome but there are certain things you can do till you get to the hospital:
The most important thing for you to remember as a parent or caregiver is to remain calm. It’s also important to find ways to de-stress when a baby cries. We understand that it can get frustrating but always ask a family member or friend for help if you are feeling exhausted or stressed.
Suggestions offered by doctors on BabyChakra are of advisory nature i.e., for educational and informational purposes only. Content posted on, created for, or compiled by BabyChakra is not intended or designed to replace your doctor's independent judgment about any symptom, condition, or the appropriateness or risks of a procedure or treatment for a given person.