Shaken Baby Syndrome Assessment
Does this child have signs of shaken baby syndrome?
Shaken Baby Syndrome is a severe head injury caused when an infant or child is shaken violently. It usually occurs to children younger than 2, but could occur to children up to age 5. Shaking a baby or young child can cause permanent brain damage, blindness, or even death. Shaken Baby Syndrome causes such serious injuries for several reasons: a baby's head is large and heavy in proportion to its body, so the whiplash effect of shaking is exaggerated; infants have space between the brain and skull to allow for growth; babies' neck muscles and ligaments are weak and not fully developed; and an infant's skull is soft. Shaken Baby Syndrome is usually caused when an angry or extremely frustrated parent or caregiver, not intending to hurt the baby, shakes the baby too hard, often in response to a baby's non-stop crying. On rare occasions, similar injuries are caused accidently by tossing the baby in the air or jogging with the baby in a backpack. There are usually no outward physical signs of trauma, such as bruising, bleeding, or swelling. An eye exam may reveal retinal hemorrhage (bleeding behind the eye) or retinal detachment. Take this quick assessment to learn the warning signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome and help you determine if a baby you're concerned about may be a victim.