Shaken baby syndrome (also called intentional head injury or abusive head trauma)
is brain damage that occurs when a baby is shaken, slammed, or thrown against
an object. It is a form of child abuse that occurs when the baby's caregiver
Shaking a baby or striking a baby's head is always dangerous.
Babies' heads are large in relation to their bodies, and their neck muscles
are not well developed. If a baby is forcefully shaken, slammed, or thrown, his
or her head will jerk back and forth uncontrollably. The child’s skull can hit
the brain with force. When the inside of the skull forcefully strikes the
brain, it can cause:
Bruising, swelling, or tearing of the brain
tissue. Brain injury and bleeding can cause increased pressure in the brain,
which can lead to serious, permanent brain damage.
Damage to the
blood vessels at the back of the eye, which may cause bleeding inside the eye
(retinal hemorrhage), vision problems, or blindness.
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.