New parents now have to watch educational videos on shaken baby syndrome before they can take their baby home in many states. This is a subject parents, babysitters, and anyone else who will be caring for an infant should know about.
This is one of the easiest forms of child abuse to prevent with well-informed parents or guardians. Many babies have sustained long-term injury or death, because their parents didn’t know better. One out of every three children that sustain injuries due to SBS die, the other two-thirds end up with brain damage, cerebral palsy, and other health problems.
Infants four months and younger are at the highest risk because their neck muscles are to weak to prevent their head from flopping around. A high risk remains until the age of one, but greatly reduces after the age of three. The risk slowly fades as the child gets older, but the injury is possible even in teenagers.
The injury occurs when children are violently shaken, just as it sounds, however being thrown with force into a couch or bed has also caused it. Normal play such as tossing a child in the air or bouncing them on your knee will not cause this injury if done gently, but if it’s done too roughly it does present the risk. An infant can sustain SBS from a fall from an elevated surface to a hard surface, this is more likely to occur with very young infants.