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What Parents Should Know About Shaken Baby Syndrome and Brain Injury

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While babies bring a lot of joy, there can be moments of frustration if a caregiver can’t console their crying. While most caregivers can handle these times just fine, sometimes feelings boil over and they start shaking the baby. It only takes a few seconds of shaking to cause irreversible brain damage to an infant or toddler. Learn more about shaken baby syndrome and to see how we can help if your child becomes a victim.

What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Shaken baby syndrome is a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler. The syndrome destroys a child’s brain cells and prevents their brain from getting enough oxygen. It’s a form of child abuse that can result in permanent brain damage or even death.

The normal ways parents or caregivers play with their children won’t cause shaken baby syndrome. For example, you can bounce your baby on your leg, swing them, or gently toss them into the air without worrying about causing any brain damage.

Shaken baby syndrome usually happens in babies younger than one year of age – typically when a parent or another caregiver is overwhelmed by a crying baby and tries to get them to stop by shaking them vigorously. Although shaken baby syndrome usually happens in young infants, it can happen with a toddler or preschooler as well.

What Can Happen to a Baby with Shaken Baby Syndrome?

While shaken baby syndrome often causes irreversible damage, 1 in every 4 cases results in the baby’s death.

Children who survive may have:

  • partial or total blindness
  • hearing loss
  • seizures
  • developmental delays
  • impaired intellect
  • speech and learning difficulties
  • problems with memory and attention
  • severe mental retardation
  • cerebral palsy

Babies may look normal immediately after shaking them but may eventually develop one or more of these problems. Sometimes the first sign of a problem isn’t noticed until the child enters the school system and has behavioral or learning problems; however, by that time, it’s more difficult to link these problems to shaken baby syndrome.

What to Do if Your Child Becomes a Victim

Shaken baby syndrome doesn’t just happen with parents. It has the potential to occur with a  relative, daycare provider, or another caregiver. It’s important to always leave your child with someone you know you can trust, and someone who can manage their emotions well when stress levels are high. It may be your worst nightmare as a parent, but you need to be prepared in case your child ever becomes a victim of shaken baby syndrome.

If your child ever becomes a victim of shaken baby syndrome, we have expert attorneys who know how to help you along the way. To schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer serving the Fargo-Moorhead area, contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys Tim O’KeeffeTatum O’Brien or Sara Monson by email, or call O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys at 701-235-8000 or toll-free 877-235-8002.