Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)

First aiders need to be aware of shaken baby syndrome (SBS). This situation happens when people can't control their anger or frustration when trying to calm a crying and upset baby. The offender mistakenly believes that shaking will quiet the baby.

Most victims are under the age of 6 months, but some are as old as 5 years. The older the child, the more likely that death will be the end result. Studies have shown that biological fathers account for 37% to 47% of SBS, mother's boyfriends account for 21% to 41%, while mothers and other female caregivers account for less than 12%.

Symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome

  • Skull, rib, and long bone fractures.
  • Bruising, usually on the face or mid-body area.
  • Brain swelling and lack of oxygen to the brain.
  • Subdural (the layer between the skull and brain) hemorrhaging.
  • Optic nerve sheath (the nerve between the retina and the brain) hemorrhaging.

Life-threatening injuries take just a few minutes to develop. On average, it takes about 2 to 3 hours for an infant to develop “not so serious” symptoms. The unfortunate news is that 13% to 25* of SBS victims die and those that survive often suffer from a variety of systemic diseases and disorders.

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