Shaken Baby Syndrome: The leading cause of child abuse deaths nationwide
When babies are born, their physical and immunological structure are in their infancy, exposing them to far more potential danger than children only a few months further along in their development.
If an infant is violently or vigorously shaken, the child could be seriously injured or killed from what is called Shaken Baby Syndrome, also known as Abusive Head Trauma. Children four months and younger are at the greatest risk for injury from shaking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is the leading cause of child abuse deaths in the United States, according to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. More than 1,400 babies are hospitalized from Shaken Baby Syndrome each year. About 25 percent of those children die from their injuries and many more suffer brain damage that they will struggle with the rest of their lives.
The brain injuries result from whiplash caused by violently shaking an infant. The whiplash from their head moving back and forth so vigorously can cause bleeding within the brain or the eyes.
Investigators typically look at three types of internal injuries when diagnosing shaken baby syndrome:
- Subdural bleeding, a collection of blood between the outer and middle layers of the covering of the brain.
- Retinal hemorrhaging, a bleeding in the eye
- Brain swelling
Not all three need to be present for Shaken Baby Syndrome to be the cause of death or injury, though defense attorneys and insurance companies will point to the absence of even one of the three as a sign that a stroke or some other underlying medical cause or event led to the injury.
Shaken Baby Syndrome cases are not typically premeditated, but they are without a doubt caused by a violent reaction to an infant. It may be for 10 seconds on one occasion or it may be every time the infant has a prolonged fit of crying, but it takes serious force to cause this type of brain injuries.
According to a position paper from the National Association of Medical Examiners: The type of shaking that is thought to result in significant brain injury involves holding the child by the thorax or an extremity and violently shaking the child back and forth, causing the head to forcefully whiplash forward and backward with repeated accelerations and decelerations in each direction.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is the result of a negligent, violent act and if you believe a child in your family is the victim of such abuse, the attorneys of Emerson Straw can thoroughly investigate your case and advise you on the best steps going forward.
If you or a loved one have a potential medical malpractice claim in the St. Petersburg, call Emerson Straw, PL at 877-428-4177 or click here to contact us for a free consultation with our Tampa Bay injury attorneys.