Shaken Baby Syndrome


This brain injury happens when a baby is shaken forcefully. Babies don't have strong neck muscles. Shaking a baby causes their head to whip back and forth. Their brain slams against the inside of their skull. This can cause bruising and bleeding. Their brain may swell.


What causes shaken baby syndrome? It's not often caused by typical play. For example, bouncing a baby on your knee isn't likely to cause it. It's caused by abuse. It happens when a parent or caregiver gets frustrated with a crying baby. They shake the baby forcefully out of anger.


What are the symptoms? Sometimes, the baby may have a bruised face. But you may not see any signs of injury on their body. The baby may be fussy and sleepy, and they may have breathing problems. They may be a poor eater. They may vomit. Their skin may turn pale or bluish, and they may have seizures. A shaken baby may become paralyzed, and may slip into a coma. Even brief shaking can cause permanent damage.


Shaken baby syndrome is a medical emergency. If your baby has been shaken, get medical help as soon as possible. Fast care may save your baby's life.