Saturday, August 28, 2010

Never Shake A Baby

As much as possible, I take care of my babies myself.   I am never confident to leave them to the care of a yaya/nanny/caregiver.  You can't blame me as I have heard a lot of stories regarding them and child abuse which often results to illnesses.  One of them and the most I am afraid of is Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Shaken Baby Syndrome or SBS is a form of child abuse wherein infants of less than 2 years of age are the hapless victims.  Ir is caused by vigorously shaking an infant with or without impact of the head, often in anger, to get a child to stop from crying or whining.



A baby's brain and the blood vessels connecting the skull to the brain are fragile and vulnerable to whiplash motions like shaking, jolting, jerking and impact.  The neck muscles of a small child is weak and the head is relatively heavy and the child's neck cannot support the stress of shaking. Consequently, when shaken, the head would bounce back and forth that could cause swelling, bruising, and bleeding which can lead to blindness, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, spinal cord injury, hearing loss, irreversible brain damage or even death.


Symptoms to look out for SBS include poor feeding or eating, difficulty in breathing, pale or bluish skin, extreme irritability, vomiting, seizures or spasms, poor sucking or swallowing, no smiling or vocalization, unable to lift or turn head, pupils unresponsive to light and blood pooling in the eyes.  It is important to seek immediate medical attention upon noticing any or all of the above symptoms to avoid serious complications and even death. Be sure to tell the doctor or the pediatrician if SBS is suspected.

Anger, frustration and losing one's control when the baby is crying are the major culprits why the baby is shaken.  There are reasons why a baby cries. To prevent him from crying, always see to it that his basic needs are met.  Make sure he is not hungry, has not pooped, has burped and is not too hot or cold.  If he still continues to cry despite these, try soothing the baby by rubbing his back or tummy.  You may also rock the baby, give him a pacifier or teether, shake a rattle for him, take him for a walk or put some soft music and sing to him.  If all else fails, call a doctor.  If you get angry or frustrated, put the baby in a safe place and take a break.  Call a friend to take care of the baby while you let the steam out.


It really is tragic that thousands of sweet, adorable and innocent babies are victims of these disabilities just because of the parents' or caregivers' ignorance of the dangers associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome.  Many are still unaware of this.  Spread the word.  Have pity on them.  Never ever shake the baby.


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