Shaken baby syndrome or SBS is an extremely serious condition. It happens when a caregiver shakes a baby so hard that brain damage occurs. Symptoms include irritability, lethargy, tremors, vomiting, retinal hemorrhage, seizures, coma, stupor, and finally death. It is defined as rapid and violent motion of the head in one or more directions that 'snaps' the baby's head back and forth.
Shaken baby Syndrome does not refer to gentle bouncing that may parents do to calm their babies. Your baby's head moving like it does in a car, a bouncy seat or a swing is safe.
Shaken baby syndrome happens in anger and frustration when a baby doesn't stop crying. Abusers of SBS are not typical abusers-they are care takers who are exhausted, stressed and who are not handling the baby's crying appropriately. If you are becoming frustrated by your baby's crying, consider getting some outside help to ease your stress level.
There are many places to learn about shaken baby syndrome, most you can contact on the internet.
- The first place to learn about shaken baby syndrome is your pediatrician. Many parents are afraid to go to their pediatrician with this question-they are afraid they might be viewed as parents who shake their baby. However, your pediatrician knows you, and can point you in the direction of materials to answer your questions. If you suspect a care giver is shaking your baby, report it to your pediatrician immediately.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also has information about shaken baby syndrome. They list a multitude of articles, though some might be difficult to read unless you have a medical background.
The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome is another wonderful resource for information. This website goes over symptoms of SBS in detail. This website also explains the difference between normal activities that jiggle/bounce babies and shaken baby syndrome. It has a wonderful question and answer page that may answer all your questions in detail.
The Shaken Baby Alliance offers support for families and education for professionals. Their goal is to prevent SBS and support the families dealing with ramifications.
SBS Prevention Plus offers discussion and trainings to prevent shaken baby syndrome. They offer products to help parents understand this syndrome, what they can do to prevent it and products for trainings about SBS.