Shaken Baby Syndrome (cont.)
David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is shaken baby syndrome?
- How common is shaken baby syndrome?
- What causes shaken baby syndrome?
- What are the symptoms and signs of shaken baby syndrome?
- What are the treatments for shaken baby syndrome?
- What is the prognosis for shaken baby syndrome?
- Can shaken baby syndrome be caused accidentally?
- Can shaken baby syndrome be prevented?
- Where can I find more information on shaken baby syndrome?
- Shaken Baby At A Glance
What are the treatments for shaken baby syndrome?
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 obtaining ophthalmologic and neurological evaluations.
What is the prognosis for shaken baby syndrome?
Infants who have suffered injuries as a result of this type of child abuse have a poor prognosis. Of those infants who survive, many will have permanent brain damage, retinal injuries, and blindness as well as and neck and spinal injuries. Unfortunately, the damage to the nervous system is too frequently permanent.
Can shaken baby syndrome be caused accidentally?
Shaken baby syndrome is almost always a result of child abuse, often perpetrated by a parent or caregiver who shakes an infant angrily in response to persistent crying. In very rare cases, the injuries associated with shaken baby syndrome may be caused by accidental actions, such as jogging with a newborn baby in a backpack. It does not result from gentle play or bouncing a child on a knee. Even in those rare accidental cases, the injuries are rarely as severe as those cases associated with non-accidental trauma from shaken baby syndrome.
Can shaken baby syndrome be prevented?
The following are guidelines to prevent child abuse and shaken baby syndrome
- Never shake an infant or child.
- Avoid holding your infant during arguments.
- Avoid disciplining your child when you are angry.
- Report abuse to the local police or to your state's child protective services if you suspect that a child in your home or someone you know is a victim of child abuse.
- If you find yourself becoming increasingly short-tempered around your infant or child, take a break and ask a friend or family member for help.
- Support the passage of the shaken baby syndrome Prevention Act (S 1204, HR 2052) introduced last year by writing your state senator and congressman.
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