baby syndrome usually does not occur with as little shaking as bouncing or tossing
a baby. However, erring on the side of caution by not allowing anyone to toss
your baby playfully, or bounce your baby is advised.
The most common circumstances
resulting in SBS happens when a baby is crying inconsolably.
Parents, caregivers and family members who become angry, frustrated or enraged
by the sounds of the crying may try to shake the baby in an effort to vent their
frustration and stop the crying.
Understanding why babies cry is
an important part of preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The cry of a baby is meant to elicit a response from the parent or caregiver.
is baby's way of communicating his needs.
It is NOT a purposeful act on the part of the child to make you angry.
we all know, we are only human. The cry of a baby can cut through us like a knife.
This is especially true when crying lasts for an extended period of time. However,
shaking a baby will never stop the baby from crying. In fact, it can cause:
Learning and behavioral problems Blindness Seizures
Paralysis Cerebral Palsy Hearing Loss Speech Difficulties Mental
Retardation Vegetative State Death
I do not know of one parent, especially a new parent who has not reached a
point close to loss of control with their infant at some time. So, knowing that
this WILL occur and being prepared to handle this situation is imperative.
Here are some things you can do when you are getting close to your breaking point.
Make sure all of the
baby's basic needs (food, diapering, appropriate clothing, etc.) are met.
Offer the baby a pacifier.
Take the baby for
a walk in a stroller or ride in a car.
Walk baby around in
a snuggly body carrier.
Call a friend, relative,
or neighbor to come over for support and/or take care of the baby while you take
a break. *Many of us, as parents, see this as failure or admitting defeat. Please
call. It is the most responsible thing you can do when nearing your breaking
If all else fails,
put the baby in their crib making sure they are safe, close the door, and check
on them every 5 minutes or so. If you can, step outside of your home and turn
off baby monitors. This way, you are not hearing the continuous cries relentlessly.
If you are a child
care provider and can not handle a crying baby, please let a parent know and don't
be afraid to tell them that you feel you can not care for their baby. As a child
care professional, your honest feedback is more appreciated.
Seizures--most noticeable as rolling of eyes upward into head. Semi-consciousness
Decreased appetite Vomiting Constipation Difficulty Breathing
Dilated pupils Blood spots/Pooling of Blood in Eyes
a child shows any of the above symptoms, take them immediately to the nearest
hospital emergency room or dial 911.
Anyone can injure a baby by shaking.
However, perpetrators of causing trauma to children by shaking are most often
fathers and boyfriends. The second most frequent perpetrators are Child
Care Providers and Caregivers. Many times the act happens on the very first
occasion a child is left in the person's care.
Ask caregivers what their plan is for times of frustration.
Inform them that you are just a phone call away and are willing to rescue them
in times of crisis.
Reinforce that asking for help is no reflection of their abilities. We're all