7 Signs And Symptoms Of Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome

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Having babies is a beautiful thing. The way you treat your little one goes a long way in deciding their future and sometimes their fate.

Parental anxieties and frustrations can at times land on infants. It is important for you to know how much is too much. We are here to talk about shaken baby syndrome, a topic every parent should know. It impacts the life of an infant due to accidental circumstances. It would be useful to know the dangers surrounding the trauma.

What Is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Shaken baby syndrome is an injury caused to the head of a child because of violent shaking. It is also known as Abusive Head Trauma (AHT). These have severe repercussions that sometimes lead to death in babies.

  • Shaken baby syndrome can happen accidentally when the caregiver shakes the baby in a violent manner.
  • It affects infants under 1 year of age.
  • When someone shakes a baby is shaken with a sudden an impulsive force, the brain bumps against the skull. This leads to bruising, swelling and pressure in and around the brain area.
  • This causes various threatening injuries and sometimes even death.
  • When the baby is shaken, the brain cells are destroyed, and oxygen is cut off in the brain. This causes various neurological impairments and even death.
  • Shaken baby syndrome is one of the most abusive forms of head trauma caused to infants. Unfortunately, several cases are registered on the same across the world every year.

[ Read: Gray Baby Syndrome ]

What Does Shaken Baby Syndrome Do To A Baby?

Shaken baby syndrome or abusive head trauma leads to the following aftermaths:

  • Bleeding in the retina
  • Blindness
  • Speech disabilities
  • Loss of hearing
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Behavioral deficiencies
  • Strokes
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Death

[ Read: Intussusception In Babies ]

Reported Cases Of Shaken Baby Syndrome:

Reports say that 2 to 3 babies out of every 10,000 are victims of head trauma in the United States every year.

  • Some studies indicate that baby boys are shaken more violently as compared to girls.
  • Most times, babies are abused by fathers, stepfathers or other relations in the family.
  • Recent reports state that in past 3 years there has been a significant rise in infant death cases due to the shaken baby syndrome.
  • Most AHT cases were reported during the economic recession in 2007 due to stress and poverty.

Signs And Symptoms Of Shaken Baby Syndrome:

It would be useful to observe and respond to some clear signs after your baby gets affected. This will help in getting immediate medical attention that can save a life.

The most important symptoms that you have to notice are:

  1. Lack of appetite.
  2. Rigidity in movements.
  3. Fixed, glassy eyes with no normal responses.
  4. Loss of concentration on a specific object.
  5. Unexplained nausea and vomiting.
  6. Getting irritated.
  7. Constantly crying.

Parents need to seek immediate medical attention, as soon as the trauma occurs. This will help avoid further delay in diagnosis and treatment.

[ Read: Bow Legs In Babies ]

How To Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome:

As a parent, it is your duty to ensure that your baby stays protected from SBS. Here are some measures you can do to protect your little one:

  • If your baby constantly cries for no reason, you may get annoyed. Understand what your baby will be comforted with.
  • You may have lost your patience in holding your crying baby. It’s better to leave him in the crib and walk out of the room. Return only after you calm down.
  • You need to practice deep breathing. Parenting can be tough, but you should risk your baby’s life due to your inner frustration. Calm down before you attain your child.
  • If you are facing other difficulties in life such as unemployment or financial troubles, it is time to tune your mind. Always make conscious efforts to bond with your baby in such situations.
  • Remember that your baby is a great diversion from your problems and not the reason.
  • If you are unable to deal with the stress of parenting there is no shame in accepting the fact. Hire a nanny who will do the job for you.
  • Protect your infant from abusive family members.

[ Read: How To Help A Choking Infant ]

Immediate Medical Response To Abusive Head Trauma:

Once you report the trauma to your doctor, the following steps happen:

  • An emergency CPR is done by the medical team in case the baby stops breathing.
  • If the baby vomits, his head will be turned to the side to avoid choking.
  • X-Ray, CT Scan or an MRI will be done. These provide the actual status of the baby’s brain post trauma.
  • Once the extent of damage to the brain is analyzed, doctors will commence the necessary prognosis.
  • The baby may be put on a respirator to enable him to breathe while treatment is on.
  • The medical team will supervise and monitor the status of the baby until the situation stabilizes.

[ Read: First Aid For Baby ]


  • It is very important to act on the crisis at the earliest possibility.
  • Once the trauma happens, there is no time to blame yourself or others responsible for the act.
  • Talk to your family physician today to understand more about shaken baby syndrome.
  • More than anything it is important that you keep track of your emotional impulses while raising your infant.
  • If you opt for nanny, do choose trustworthy and trained personnel.

We hope this article gave you and insight on SBS. If you have similar experiences do share your views with other parents in the comment column.

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