Babies are very sensitive and vulnerable from the first moment they are born. The biggest reason for this is that even though most of the physical development is completed in the womb, many systems of the body, especially the brain and muscle development , continue to develop in the first months.
For this reason, care must be taken when handling and carrying the baby. However, a condition called shaken baby syndrome may occur for some reason . This syndrome can be life-threatening during this period when the baby is most sensitive.
So what is shaken baby syndrome and why? What are the symptoms and consequences? How are measures taken?
What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Shaken Baby Syndrome , also known as Shaken Baby Syndrome , the baby vigorously shaken as a result of a traumatic situation that occurred. As a result, serious health problems may arise in the baby.
This event, which is called a kind of child abuse, is an event that the parent or the person caring for the baby sometimes consciously or unconsciously.
What Causes Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Caring for a tiny baby can be challenging for parents at first. Continuous crying spells can lead to the caregiver’s inability to control himself and experience an outburst of anger .
Accordingly, movements such as shaking the baby vigorously, jerking the baby by holding the arm by the shoulder or leg and even putting it hard on the bed cause the weak neck muscles of the baby to be damaged. Oxygen delivery to the brain becomes difficult.
The brain, which is in a liquid state, hits back and forth in the skull and the blood vessels and brain cells in the brain are damaged. These damages can cause many vital problems in the baby, from sudden deaths to various neurological disorders.
Shaken baby syndrome is more common in:
- Depression or mood disorders of parents
- Being a parent at a young age
- Parents’ alcohol or drug addiction
- Traumatic events and some negative behaviors of parents in their childhood
- Extreme stress
- Inability of the caregiver to cope with this situation
- Postpartum depression (Postpartum)
- Financial shortcomings
Shaken Baby Syndrome Symptoms
Some visible physical findings can occur as a result of physical trauma in the baby. However, parents may not understand the findings very clearly if a jolting movement is made unconsciously.
In some cases, the parents are aware of the situation, but the effort to hide the mistake makes it difficult to follow the symptoms. It is possible to list the most common symptoms experienced by a child with trauma.
Shaken Baby Syndrome Symptoms:
- Tendency to sleep, difficulty staying awake
- Body tremors
- Difficulty breathing
- Low body temperature
- Respiratory arrest
- Loss of consciousness
- Vision loss
- Skin discoloration (such as bruising)
- Lethargy and tiredness
- Lack of attention
- Decreased muscle tone
- Loss of appetite
Rarely, symptoms such as bruising, redness, crushing, bruising, swelling may occur on the baby’s body with the effect of movements such as bumping and holding hard.
What Consequences Can the Syndrome Have?
Shaken baby syndrome is a condition that can be seen all over the world and has irreversible consequences. Even a few seconds of shaking can be dangerous for the child.
Situations caused by;
- Partial vision loss
- Complete loss of vision
- Hearing loss
- Developmental delay
- Mental retardation
- Muscle coordination problems
- Delay in learning
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones or dislocations
- Behavioral disorders
- Cerebral palsy
- Celebral hemorrhage
- Sudden respiratory arrest
Approximately 20% of children who are exposed to this syndrome have death due to sudden respiratory arrest or cerebral hemorrhage, and 1 in 3 have permanent neurological problems .
What Movements Are at Risk of Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Especially parents who become mothers and fathers for the first time may be unconscious and inexperienced in baby care. As an effect of this, a newborn may be unaware of movements that may negatively affect a baby.
The following movements can cause babies to shake violently:
- Quickly shaking the crying baby standing
- Jumping up and down quickly while the child is sitting on the knee
- To hold the child in the air to love and entertain
- To rotate the baby in the air while holding the arms
- Running with the baby on the lap
These behaviors cause extreme shaking in children. As a result, symptoms of shaken baby syndrome may occur.
How is Shaken Baby Syndrome Diagnosed?
Most of the time, parents who are not aware of a wrong move cannot discriminate that such a situation occurs in their children. If you observe one or more of the symptoms of shaken baby syndrome, or if there is another suspicious situation, it is best to consult a specialist without delay.
The diagnosis of the disorder will be finalized by the completion of various tests by a specialist.
Examinations to be made;
- Visual examination
- Computed tomography
- MR (Magnetic resonance) and
- It is an x-ray.
Your doctor can make a definitive diagnosis by examining 3 conditions in the child.
- Brain swelling (encephalopathy)
- Bleeding in the brain (Subdural bleeding)
- Retinal bleeding in the brain (Retinal bleeding)
What Precautions Can Be Taken To Prevent Syndrome?
Considering the consequences, the importance of protecting children from this syndrome becomes more evident.
- Especially children under the age of 2 should not be shaken in any way.
- If there are other family members caring for the child, they should be informed about the “shaken baby syndrome”.
- While carrying the baby, its head and neck should be supported with one hand.
- Others who carry the child should be warned about the correct handling and handling techniques.
- It should not be run while the baby is holding.
- Babies who cry and do not sleep should not swing vigorously in the crib, standing or lap.
- It should be patient and calm with the baby. If the situation cannot be coped with, help should be sought from someone else about care.
- All necessary warnings should be made if the baby is caregiver or a helper.
- If you have trouble calming the baby, sing, play, or talk to him. However, definitely avoid making shocking movements.
Shaken baby syndrome is not a curable disease. Only vital situations that arise as a result of trauma can be intervened. For this reason, all family members should be sensitive about this issue and show necessary care. The right thing to do is to take the necessary precautions.