May is Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Month
May is Shaken Baby Syndrome Awareness Month. In just 3 seconds, you can cause brain damage, paralysis, blindness, learning and behavior difficulties, and/or even death simply by just shaking your baby. Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is often fatal and can cause severe brain damage, thus resulting in life long injuries, or possibly even death. Shaken baby injuries usually occur in children younger than 2 years old but may also be seen in children up to the age of 5. What happens is when an infant or toddler is shaken, the brain bounces back and forth against the skull. This can cause bruising of the brain also known as cerebral contusion, swelling, pressure, and bleeding in the brain. The large veins along the outside of the brain may tear, then leading to further bleeding, swelling, and increased pressure. This can easily cause permanent brain damage or death. In many cases, the parent or care giver may become frusturated with the child for whatever reason, picking up the infant, and shaking them aggravatedly or even throwing the child roughly to ‘punish’ the infant or making them be quiet. Such shaking usually takes place when the infant is crying inconsolably and the frustrated caregiver ends up losing control. Many times the caregiver did not intend to harm the baby. Still, it is still a very serious form of child abuse.
Signs and Symptoms of SBS:
•Extreme irritability or other changes in behavior
•Lethargy, sleepiness, not smiling
•Loss of consciousness
•Loss of vision
•Pale or bluish skin
•Poor feeding, lack of appetite
Please know the effects on this serious condition, and remember to never shake a baby or child in play or in anger. Even gentle shaking can become violent shaking when you are angry.