Shaken baby syndrome is known by a number of different names including: abusive head trauma, inflicted traumatic head injury and shaken impact syndrome. But, regardless of the name used, shaken baby syndrome is caused by physical abuse and occurs when a child is shaken violently back and forth causing the brain to bounce around inside the skull.
Unfortunately, many cases of shaken baby syndrome occur when a parent or caregiver becomes frustrated that they cannot get the child to quiet down . Out of frustration, the parent or caregiver shakes the child, causing a serious head injury. In fact, as a result of the developing nature of babies’ brains, almost 1 in 4 reported cases of shaken baby syndrome cause such serious head injuries that they ultimately lead to death.
Signs and Symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome
Because these injuries often happen when there is no other adult present, or no one to relieve the caregiver, it is important for parents to know the signs and symptoms of shaken baby syndrome. Some common signs and symptoms of shaken baby syndrome are:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Decrease in appetite
- Difficulty eating, sucking or swallowing
- Loss of consciousness
- Blue colored skin
- Unequal pupil size
- Increased tiredness
- Difficulty breathing
Because most cases of shaken baby syndrome are not reported, if you don’t see the symptoms of shaken baby syndrome, an otherwise healthy baby who has been abused may inexplicably develop a number of disabilities, including:
- Hearing loss
- Learning disabilities
- Developmental delays
- Cerebral palsy
If you suspect your child has been abused and is suffering from shaken baby syndrome, the first thing you should do is report the abuse to the police and get your child the medical attention he or she needs. Until the abuse is either confirmed or denied, your child should not be left alone with the suspected abuser. You may also want to explore hiring an experienced attorney to help you bring a civil case against the abuser. Most likely, your child will need ongoing medical care to address the side effects of the abuse and this medical care can often be expensive. Holding the abuser accountable may provide you with the resources you need to care for your child.
Call our office to discuss your options and whether bringing a civil case would make sense in your situation. We offer free consultations and are here to help.