Shaken baby syndrome is characterized as a condition in which blood vessels rupture, due to abrupt/rapid movement of an infant. This occurrence commonly stems from violent shaking. Inconsolable crying is a frequent trigger that elicits an abusive response by the parents or caretakers (Beaton et. al., 2009). Signs and symptoms of injury include impact factors, neck “whiplash” injury, cerebral hematomas, cerebral edemas, retinal hemorrhages, lethargic eyes, pale and cyanotic skin tone, and possibly seizures (Lewin, 2008). Consequences of shaken baby syndrome include major mental and developmental retardation, paralysis and even blindness.
According to Lewin, the range age of infants experiencing such traumatic events are between 1 and 8 months. In the USA, 50% to 75% of teenagers and young adults stated they did not know that shaking is dangerous (Herrmann et al., 2009). Furthermore, with 1,200 to 1,400 children shaken each year, it is estimated that mortality rates have reached 13 to 30% (Beaton et. al., 2009).
Herrmann, B., Kober, F., Matschke, J., & Spherhake, J. (2009). Shaken baby syndrome: A common variant of non-accidental head injury in infants. Deutsches Aerzteblatt International, 106(13).
Lewin, L. (2008). Shaken baby syndrome: Facts, education, and advocacy. Nursing for Women’s Health, 12(3), 235-239.
Beaton, K., Meskauskas, L., & Meservey, M. (2009). Preventing shaken baby syndrome: A multidisciplinary response to six tragedies. Nursing for Women’s Health, 13(4), 225-230.