Baby Safety

Brain Damage Can Occur After Shaking A Baby For 4 SECONDS

Child abuse expert Dr. Ann Springer wants parents and caregivers to know that it only takes 4 seconds to shake a baby to the point of brain damage.

Once it has happened, it can’t be fixed, so that’s why it’s so important that parents understand how to prevent it.

Nationally, about 3,000 cases a year of shaken baby syndrome are reported.

Dr. Springer said she sees one or two shaken baby cases each month, all children who survived.

Shaken baby syndrome is just what it says: brain trauma inflicted when a baby is shaken, causing bleeding on the brain, bleeding in the retina of the eyes, and other injuries.

Even if a child survives, the outcome is poor. These children generally do not recover, facing a life of mental retardation, cerebral palsy or other disabilities that may require lifelong medical intervention.

She has found that it often begins with a cry.

“It’s what the parent conceives as uncontrollable,” Dr. Springer said. “A baby cries on average two hours a day. (Caregivers) panic. The problem is, they are not thinking. We live in a violent society where for many, many folks, violence is the only way to manage disagreements. And it’s no surprise that big people hit little people.”

More parent education is needed, even though new parents typically get some information on shaken baby syndrome before the mother is discharged from the hospital. It may not be enough.

After you make sure that the baby is fed, changed, burped and not wearing clothes that are constricting try these tips:

  • Take the baby for a walk outside in a stroller or for a ride in the car seat.
  • Hold the baby against your chest and gently massage the baby.
  • Rock, walk, or dance with the baby.
  • Be patient; take a deep breath and count to ten.
  • Call a friend or relative that you can trust to take over for a while, then get away, get some rest, take care of yourself.
  • Offer a pacifier.
  • Lower any surrounding noise and lights.
  • Offer the baby a noisy toy; shake or rattle it.
  • Hold the baby and breathe slowly and calmly; the baby may feel your calmness and become quiet.
  • Sing or talk to the baby using soothing tones.
  • Record a sound, like a vacuum cleaner, or hair dryer.

If all else fails call your doctor to make sure something isn’t wrong.

About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!

1 Comment

  • This is SO wrong. The true experts in the field of injury–biomechanical engineers–have determined that the symptoms used to diagnose “shaken baby” aren’t caused by shaking because they know the approximate level of force needed to cause brain swelling and bleeding and that it isn’t possible to manually exert that much force by shaking. Furthermore, that the neck and cervical spine would give way first. No neck injuries, no violent shaking, and neck injuries are virtually unheard of in these cases. Of course if there were, it would be possible to kill or harm a child but by a different mechanism of action. Of course if you bash babies head against something, that’s different. Severe head impact has always been associated with these symptoms. On the other hand, “inconsolable crying” is a hallmark neurological symptom characteristic of encephalitis (brain swelling) and related medical conditions. Every single vaccine lists encephalitis as a potential side effect, but there are other causes–infection, drugs, etc. just as there are many causes of abnormal bleeding which in reverse can cause brain swelling, such as Vitamin C deficiency and other conditions. The tragedy of all of this misinformation (I’ve been researching and writing about this subject for 5 years) is that while doctors are medically compelled to do DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS when a cause is uncertain, to eliminate other causes of the same symptoms, they have accepted this unproven hypothesis of SBS as gospel truth and assume abuse has taken place instead of proving it. As as long as the real causes remain shrouded in mystery because of the refusal to look for other causes, infants remain at extreme risk and the lives of their caretakers become hopelessly devastated. There has never been one single documented case of shaking that caused these symptoms, but documented cases (witnessed or videotaped) of severe shaking that caused NO injury (not that anyone should ever violently shake an infant). And forget “confessions”. If you were threatened with certain conviction if you dared go to trial with a sentence decades long or for life or even the death penalty, opposed to a plea bargain and a few years …which would you choose?

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend