Shaken Baby Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Shaken Baby Syndrome

A shaken baby syndrome is a severe kind of child abuse that happens when a caregiver shakes the child uncontrollably. The illness can result in brain damage and lasting difficulties, as well as swelling, bruising, and bleeding in a baby’s developing brain.

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaking a baby vigorously and forcibly can result in shaken infant syndrome, and severe brain damage. Additional names for this condition include abuse-related head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, and whiplash shake syndrome. A kind of child maltreatment known as “shaken baby syndrome” results in serious brain damage.

After just five seconds of shaking, it may occur. Although it can affect kids as young as age 5, it is more prevalent in kids under the age of 2. The most common age range for shaken baby syndrome instances is 6 to 8 weeks, which correlates with the peak crying period for newborns.


  • Having trouble staying awake
  • Bodily tremors
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bad eating
  • Vomiting
  • Skin coloration
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Paralysis

Causes of Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome can happen when a newborn or young toddler is forcibly shaken. The syndrome may also result from intentional head contact, tossing, and dropping of the kid. A child’s brain can shake inside of their skull if they are smacked or shaken.

Children have softer brains and weaker ligaments. Their neck muscles are still growing. In addition, compared to the rest of their bodies, their heads are big and massive. The child’s brain swells, bruises, and bleeds as a result of the intense shaking. Also, this damages the child’s blood vessels, nerves, and tissues.

Shaken baby syndrome is most frequently caused by a caregiver who is overburdened and annoyed by a baby’s continuous crying. The carer loses control when they become irate or upset. Even when the baby’s caregiver did not plan to hurt the kid, it’s still child abuse.


Following a shaking, some infants will stop breathing. If this happens, doing CPR might keep your infant breathing while you wait for assistance. The American Red Cross suggests the following procedures for doing CPR:

Put the infant on their back with caution

It is better if two persons carefully transfer the infant if you suspect a spinal injury so that the head and neck do not twist.

Set up your position

Put two fingers in the center of the breastbone if your child is under one. Put one hand on the center of the breastbone if the kid is older than 1 year old. Placing your second hand on the infant’s forehead will help keep its head tilted back. If you are concerned about suffering a spinal injury, pull the jaw forward rather than tilting the head, and maintain it open.

Apply chest compressions

Apply pressure on the breastbone while pushing about halfway into the chest. Without stopping, do 30 compressions to the chest. Firm and quick compressions are required.

Rescue breathing

After the compressions, check for breathing. If there are no indications of breathing, cover the baby’s mouth and nose securely with your mouth. Check the airway for obstruction and give two breaths. Every breath needs to last around a second in order to cause the chest to rise.

Keep up CPR

Until assistance arrives, continue the cycle of 30 compressions and two rescue breaths. Make careful to continuously check for breathing.

The infant may occasionally vomit after being shaken. To prevent choking, carefully turn the baby onto their side. Make careful you roll the baby’s entire body at once. In the event of a spinal cord injury, there is less chance of further damage when rolling. It’s crucial that you refrain from picking up the newborn or giving it food or drink.

For the treatment of shaken baby syndrome, there is no medicine. When a brain hemorrhage is severe, surgery may be necessary to treat it. In this circumstance, a shunt, or thin tube, may be implanted in order to relieve pressure or drain surplus blood and fluid.

The Bottom Line

It’s possible to avoid shaken baby syndrome. In order to protect your infant from injury, you should never shake them. When you are unable to stop your infant from crying, it is simple to get frustrated. However, crying is a typical newborn behavior, and shaking is never the appropriate reaction.

When your infant screams for long stretches of time, it’s crucial to find methods to decompress. When you sense yourself losing control, calling a family member or friend for assistance might be beneficial. Additionally, there are several hospital-based programs that may instruct you on how to handle parental stress and react to an infant’s cries.