Many times, due to everyday life problems, we do not know how to react to high stress situations and the serious mistake of shaking a baby is made, even if only once, this can have catastrophic consequences for the child’s health, such as shaken baby, which manifests itself with a set of serious brain injuries.
Shaken Baby Syndrome, also known as “maltreatment trauma to the head,” “shake impact syndrome,” “head injury inflicted,” or “cervical hyperextension syndrome,” is a serious brain injury that results from violent shaking to a baby or toddler.
A natural reaction of the baby in his first months is to cry, some more than others, but for the most part they all do. There are peaks of crying, either due to its own evolution according to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP), the highest peak of crying can occur between two and three months of life, or due to problems such as colds or colic. Be that as it may, the parents’ reaction to the indecipherable crying and uninterruptedly ends with the caregiver’s patience, who, out of his mind, may end up shaking the baby to try to silence him.
This resource to end a baby’s crying is not only ineffective, but can lead to what is known as shaken baby syndrome, which manifests itself with a set of brain injuries, derived from vigorously shaking the little infant. It is a relatively frequent syndrome, since its incidence according to the AEP is estimated at around 20 cases for every 100,000 children under 2 years of age.
Shaken Baby Syndrome destroys a child’s brain cells and prevents the brain from receiving enough oxygen, which can lead to irreparable brain damage or death.
Shaken baby syndrome can be prevented. Parents who are at risk of entering a level of unconsciousness and harming a child can receive help. Parents can also teach caregivers about the dangers of shaken baby syndrome.
Symptoms of shaken baby syndrome
The signs and symptoms of shaken baby syndrome include the following:
- Difficulty staying awake
- Respiratory problems
- Poor diet
- Agitation or extreme irritability
- Pale or bluish color to the skin
Newborns’ heads account for almost 25% of their weight; it is very large compared to its body. To this aspect we must add two others: due to the weight of its head, the muscles of its neck are not strong enough to hold it well; And his still-developing brain is also more fragile and vulnerable.
You may not see signs of physical injury to the child’s body. Sometimes the face bruises. Injuries that may not be seen immediately include bleeding from the brain and eyes, spinal cord injury, and fractures of the ribs, skull, legs, and other bones. Many children with shaken baby syndrome have signs and symptoms of previous child abuse.
In mild cases of shaken baby syndrome, the child may look normal after being shaken, but may develop health or behavioral problems over time.
Babies have weak neck muscles and often have difficulty supporting their heavy head. When a baby is violently shaken, its fragile brain moves back and forth inside the skull. This causes bruising, swelling, and bleeding.
Shaken baby syndrome usually occurs when a parent or caregiver shakes a baby or toddler badly out of frustration or anger, often because the child won’t stop crying.
In general, this syndrome does not occur by jumping the child on the knee, by suffering slight falls or by playing roughly.
It is very important for first-time parents to have training classes to help them better understand the dangers of violently shaking a child and to provide tips for calming a baby’s cry and managing stress.
When you can’t calm your baby when she cries, you may be tempted to stop the tears anyway, but it’s important that you always treat your child gently. There is no reason to shake a child. If you have trouble controlling your emotions or the stress of parenting, ask for help.
Your child’s doctor may refer you to a counselor or other mental health professional. If there are other people who help you care for your child (be it a caregiver, a brother, or a grandparent), make sure they know the dangers of shaken baby syndrome.
Shaken Baby Syndrome Treatments
Once the shaking episode has taken place there is no treatment that can avoid the sequelae. So far, no system has been found to make brain swelling milder. Therefore, the best form of prevention is a series of measures that put patience first.
When the baby is admitted to a hospital with symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome, emergency measures are respiratory support and surgery to stop internal bleeding and bleeding from the brain.
Doctors can study diagnostic images of the child’s brain, using magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography, to make the definitive diagnosis.
When to see the doctor
Seek help immediately if you suspect that your child may have been injured by being violently shaken. Contact your child’s doctor or take him to the nearest emergency room. Getting immediate medical attention could save your child’s life or prevent serious health problems.
Health care professionals are legally obligated to report to state authorities all suspected cases of child maltreatment.
Patience always the mother of all virtues, as Baby Shop Club, we will always be concerned about the health of our angels and their development.