Babies have weak neck muscles and often struggle to support their heavy heads. If a baby is forcefully shaken, his or her fragile brain moves back and forth inside the skull. This causes bruising, swelling and bleeding.
Shaken baby syndrome usually occurs when a parent or caregiver severely shakes a baby or toddler due to frustration or anger — often because the child won't stop crying.
Shaken baby syndrome isn't usually caused by bouncing a child on your knee, minor falls or even rough play.
Oct. 18, 2014
- Allen KA. The neonatal nurse's role in preventing abusive head trauma. Advances in Neonatal Care. 2014;14:336.
- Reese LS, et al. Evaluation of period of PURPLE crying, an abusive head trauma prevention program. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. In press. In press. Accessed Sept. 11, 2014.
- NINDS shaken baby syndrome information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shakenbaby/shakenbaby.htm. Accessed Sept. 11, 2014.
- Shaken baby syndrome. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Shaken%20Baby%20Syndrome.aspx. Accessed Sept. 11, 2014.
- Never shake your baby. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.org/baby/never-shake-your-baby.aspx. Accessed Sept. 11, 2014.
- Christian C, et al. Child abuse: Epidemiology, mechanisms, and types of abusive head trauma in infants and children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 11, 2014.