Shaken Baby Syndrome

Babies are viewed as sweet, soft, and a bundle of joy to most everyone they encounter. Even when they are hard to deal with, most people would consider them worth it because we have all had to go through that stage, and it is easier to enjoy the baby stage then loath it. Having said that, babies are subject to their caregivers and the care they provide. Unfortunately, shaken baby syndrome has come into our vocabulary concerning these sweet babes and the injuries they have occurred.  These injuries can range from subdural hematomas, retinal hemorrhages, and cerbral edemas within the children. Although shaken baby syndrome can be an accident many doctors see shaken baby syndrome as a resulting of abuse. This article looks to highlight the details of shaken baby syndrome, discuss the differences between the common brain injuries, and lastly discuss the prevention of shaken baby syndrome.

Details of Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome is considered by most of the world as child abuse.  The most common cause of the injuries result from the parents becoming upset or frustrated with their children. Babies require constant care and cause sleepless nights for parents. After many of these sleepless nights, parents not realizing their own strength can be rough with their children, specifically shaking them, resulting in injuries. Lifelong disability can ensue from shaken baby syndrome and drastically change the child’s life. Death rates from being shaken range as cases are not only determined by doctors but by courts as well, making the percentages fluctuate between 15 and 38%. Most shaken baby syndrome cases occur from the parent becoming overly upset or frustrated with their child, and either knowingly or not, takes that frustration out on the baby by shaking them.

Common Brain Injuries

As highlighted in the opening paragraph, there are three primarily causes for brain injuries: subdural hematomas, retinal hemorrhages, and cerbral edemas, each of which are classified as traumatic brain injuries.  Subdural hematomas are injuries where blood gathers between the out most layers of the brain and subsequently tears tissue and damages neural connections.  These types of hematomas are generally formed from rapidly changing dimensions in the brain that the brain cannot quite adjust to, such as the babies brain being rapidly shaken.  A retinal hemorrhage is where there is blood behind the eyes from the tissue being destroyed by rough force, causing bleeding and impaired vision.  Lastly, a cebral edema is an excess of fluid in the intracellular or extracellular spaces of the brain. Each of these injuries occur after some sort of force is applied to a gentle head.

Prevention of Brain Injuries in Babies

The best way to prevent shaken baby syndrome is to remain calm and take the necessary precautions to not get overly frustrated by your children.  Being a mother or a father can be taxing and it is good to take a break every once in a while to get out of the house. Anything that will put you out of your element and help you to relax will be able to lower your frustration and help prevent you from taking that frustration out on your children. When you are around your children, try to be patient with them and be gentle. Sometimes, we as adults forget our strength, and can accidentally hurt our children. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, everyone must be tender with their children or there could be serious consequences. If you or a loved one has a child that has experienced shaken baby syndrome at the hand of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation.  We at Christensen and Hymas provide a free confidential consultation to aid you in this situation. We understand that many times these topics are hard to talk about and warrant the utmost care. Please feel free to give us a call at 801.506.0800.

Photo “Joachim crying” copyright by Tatiana Vdb.

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