What is shaken baby syndrome and why does it occur?

Babies are totally defenseless beings who depend on the protection of their parents, but what happens when the parents or caregivers themselves are the ones who physically harm the child? This has happened on several occasions with what is known as the ‘shaken baby syndrome’.

This Monday a new case became known, where the Police have arrested some parents in Palma for abusing your baby by allegedly shaking him and causing multiple injuries. Doctors raised the alarm when the boy was taken to the hospital. The Guard Court has provisionally withdrawn custody and parental rights from the parents because an investigation has already begun to find out what happened.

Shaken baby syndrome, according to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, It is a syndrome that damages the brain and is caused by vigorously moving the baby. The Association says that this is “relatively frequent” since there is an incidence in the world of 20.25 cases per 100,000 children under two years of age. In Spain, of the approximately 450,000 children born each year, about 100 may suffer from this syndrome.

What does shaking affect?

This syndrome occurs because a baby’s head is much larger than its body, unlike older children and adults. In fact, it is 25% of its weight. When they are so small, the head is not supported enough and the neck muscles are weak. Besides, your brain is forming still and therefore it is softer and blood vessels more fragile.

When this shaking occurs, what happens is that the brain hits the skull producing inflammation or bleeding. Some of the effects that can be seen are the retinal bleeding and spinal cord injury at neck height.

It is not necessary to shake it for a long time to cause injury, but with do it for at least 5 seconds It is enough for the baby to have injuries caused by it. Some complications What these children can experience are: partial or total loss of vision, developmental delays, learning and/or behavioral problems, intellectual disabilities, seizures and even cerebral palsy that affects normal movement and muscle coordination.

The cure for this syndrome can be complicated since it produces long-term consequences. According to the aforementioned Association, one in ten children who suffer a serious shake dies. Of those who survive, the consequences are serious and irreversible. When this violent movement occurs repeatedly but with less intensity, the consequences may be difficulty learning to speak or lack of motor coordination.

Why it happens?

Normally this happens when parents don’t know how to react in the face of continuous crying that causes frustration and anger. Although also can be caused by a resuscitation attempt in a situation where the caregiver thinks the newborn is in danger.

Some of the risks that may lead to this action What causes the syndrome is when parents experience some of the following things: unrealistic expectations about babies, very young parents who do not know how to control the situation, stress, domestic violence, substance abuse, depression or a history of having suffered family abuse .

What to do to avoid this

You should never shake a child and that is why it is essential receive parenting education of the child with the aim of preventing certain stressful situations. Children express their needs through crying and therefore, we must keep in mind that it is normal for there to be moments where this crying extends over time. The essential thing in these types of occasions is that the caregivers or parents look for the cause and try to calm him down through physical contact or talking to him gently.

If we see that the little one is running out of breath or has another type of problem, we should not move him with violence. This happens due to so-called “sob spasms”, although it can also happen due to coughing or choking attacks. The solution is to put him face down or sit leaning forward with his head supported. Once they are in one of these two positions, you have to rub their back or give them gentle blows with your open hand.

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Source: Antena3

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