What You Should Know About Shaken Baby Syndrome

Editorial Team

Have you heard about Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Mayo clinic defines Shaken Baby Syndrome as a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler.

According to KidsHealthShaken Baby Syndrome results from injuries caused by someone (most often a parent or other caregiver) vigorously shaking a child or striking the child's head against a surface. In many cases, the caregiver cannot get the baby to stop crying and, out of frustration or anger, will shake the baby.

Healthline reports that, babies have soft brains and weak neck muscles. They also have delicate blood vessels. Shaking a baby or young child can cause their brain to repeatedly hit the inside of the skull. This impact can trigger bruising in the brain, bleeding in the brain, and brain swelling. Other injuries may include broken bones as well as damage to the baby’s eyes, spine, and neck.

Shaken baby syndrome is more common in children under age 2, but it can affect children up to age 5. Most cases of shaken baby syndrome occur among infants that are 6 to 8 weeks old, which is when babies tend to cry the most.

Symptoms of shaken baby syndrome may include:

  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Body tremors
  • Trouble breathing
  • Poor eating
  • Vomiting
  • Discolored skin
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Paralysis

According to Mayo Clinic, survivors of shaken baby syndrome may require lifelong medical care for conditions such as:

  • Partial or total blindness
  • Hearing loss
  • Developmental delays, learning problems or behavior issues
  • Mental retardation
  • Seizures
  • Cerebral palsy a disorder that affects muscle coordination and speech

Healthline has advised that shaken baby syndrome is preventable. You can avoid harming your baby by not shaking them under any circumstances. It’s easy to become frustrated when you can’t get your baby to stop crying. However, crying is a normal behavior in infants, and shaking is never the right response.

Playful interaction with an infant, such as bouncing the baby on the lap or tossing the baby up in the air, won’t cause the injuries associated with shaken baby syndrome.

In my opinion information regarding this syndrome has not been reported enough in this country. The consequences of this syndrome are so grave we need to create awareness for it and make sure the information is circulated enough to prevent its occurrence in Nigeria.