Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)
What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is serious brain injury caused by shaking a baby or infant, which causes the baby's fragile brain to slam against the skull wall, often resulting in cerebral hemorrhage, contusion, edema, bleeding within the brain, or tears in the brain tissue. The most severe cases of SBS result in severe disability or death. Crying is the number one trigger for shaking a baby. Often times the injuries caused from SBS are unintentional, but shaking a baby can happen to anyone in just a moment of frustration or anger when control is lost and anger takes over in an effort to get the baby to stop crying. If you suspect a child has been shaken, seek medical attention immediately. This could be the difference between life or death.
What are the Consequences of SBS?
Shaken Baby Syndrome can result in several long-term consequences:
What are Signs and Symptoms of SBS?
If you suspect your child has been shaken, seek medical attention immediately. Some signs and symptoms of SBS include:
What are Some Techniques for Soothing Your Baby?
SBS is 100% preventable. Crying is the number one trigger for shaking a baby, so knowing how to deal with a baby's crying can help prevent SBS. It is never okay to shake a baby. Some babies cry more than others, and it's normal for babies to cry 4-5 hours a day. It's typical for babies crying to increase around two weeks of age and to peak at around two months of age. Feel comforted knowing that crying will eventually decrease.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and like nothing you do is working to help soothe your crying baby. If you need a break, put the baby in a safe place like a crib and check on him every ten minutes. It's okay to walk away or ask for help from your partner, a friend, or a family member. Remember, your baby's crying is normal and some soothing methods may not always work.
Some techniques for soothing your baby are:
More Information & Resources
The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
SBS Information and Prevention
Visit http://www.calmacryingbaby.org to learn more about SBS, how to calm a crying baby, and how to prevent SBS.
Visit http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/brain/shaken.html to learn more about SBS and how to prevenit it, including Dr. Harvey Karp's method of the 5 S's (Healthy Start offers a free class, "The Happiest Baby on the Block", that teaches how to help soothe a fussy baby using the 5 S's.
Call 1-800-352-5683 if you are a parent or caregiver feeling stressed or overwhelmed from your child. Funded by the State of Florida Department of Children and Families, the helpline offers supportive counseling seven days a week from 8am - 10pm in Englinsh and Spanish.
National Parent Helpline
Call 1-855-4A PARENT (1-855-427-2736) for parenting help and support M-F 10am - 7 pm (Pacific Standard Time). You can also visit their website at http://www.nationalparenthelpline.org/ for more parenting resources.