Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) occurs from the violent shaking of an infant or shaking and impacting of the skull. This form of abuse has many severe and long lasting consequences ranging from vomiting and limp arms to seizures, mental retardation and death. Over 300 babies die each year in the United States from SBS and 1,200 to 1,400 are injured.
The reason this happens is because babies' heads make up approximately 25% of their body weight and their neck muscles cannot support their head, especially if they have been shaken. Usually the abuser shakes the baby out of frustration or anger from constant crying or other issues.
The National Center for Shaken Baby Syndrome lists the following as the process of what happens to the infant:
1. The brain rotates within the skull cavity, injuring or destroying brain tissue.
2. When shaking occurs, blood vessels feeding the brain can be torn, leading to bleeding around the brain.
3. Blood pools within the skull, sometimes creating more pressure within the skull and possibly causing additional brain damage.
4. Retinal (back of the eye) bleeding is very common
If the infant survives the abuse, they usually have lifelong damage and debilitation, and will usually have a much shorter life span.
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The best form of prevention is for parents and caregivers to educate themselves on ways to soothe infants when they are crying or are having other behavioral problems. About Shaken Baby has many resources on their website, which may help with problems that parents and caregivers are having with young children. (About Shaken Baby)
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