Violent shaking or blunt trauma to a baby’s head can cause serious injuries and even the death of the child. The term ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’ (SBS) is used to describe abusive head trauma inflicted on babies and young children in this manner.
Common Symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome
SBS can be difficult to detect. But, there are some common observable symptoms that you can look for. These symptoms include:
- Extreme irritability
- Sluggish or lethargic behavior
- Loss of appetite (refusing to eat)
- Shaking or tremors
In many cases, however, a child may need to undergo various tests conducted by medical specialists and child abuse experts in order to be properly diagnosed as suffering from Shaken Baby Syndrome.
What Causes Shaken Baby Syndrome
Babies cry a lot. Especially during their first 5 months of life. A normal, healthy baby can cry up to 5 hours each day. Babies cry the most during their first two months. But after this, will begin to cry less each month. Crying is, however, the predominant reason why babies are shaken and injured by their caregivers, who might be frustrated with the child’s persistent crying.
SBS is not caused by gently playing with a baby in an age appropriate manner, such as when you bounce a baby on your knee or rock a baby in your arms. Nor is it caused by short falls and tumbles that a baby might make as it learns to sit, crawl, stand or walk. But all it takes is a moment of lost control or violent shaking by a parent, relative, friend or caregiver for a baby to be seriously injured or die.
The Consequences of Shaken Baby Syndrome
The brains of babies are very loose in their skulls and their necks are not yet strong enough to support their heads, which are relatively large in relation to the size of their bodies. Blunt trauma to their heads or violent movement of their heads back and forth can cause some of the structural elements of their brains, such as the connection between blood vessels and nerve cells, to tear. Amongst other things, this can result in:
- Brain damage
- Swelling of the brain
- Bleeding in the eyes
SBS most often happens with children under the age of one, but can occur with children as old as five years of age. Regardless of the age of the victim, it can result in long-term physical and mental problems, such as blindness, paralysis, learning disabilities and behavior problems.
What to Do If You Suspect SBS
Your highest priority as a parent is your children’s well-being. If you believe that your child is a victim of shaken baby syndrome due to negligence or abuse by a spouse, caregiver, babysitter, day care worker, or healthcare professional, you should first get your child evaluated by a specialist. It is then extremely important that you speak with a Shaken Baby Syndrome attorney immediately to discuss your options.
Contact Carey, Danis & Lowe immediately to speak with an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney. We do not charge a fee unless we recover financial compensation for you. Call (314) 725-7700 or fill out our contact form. We will meet with you at your convenience for a free consultation to discuss your options.