Shaken baby syndrome is a kind of brain injury which happens in babies and toddlers. It usually occurs when someone shakes a baby or toddler violently. This action causes subdural hemorrhages or brain bleeding. It may also cause retinal hemorrhages too, or bleeding of the retinas. When someone shakes a baby aggressively, the brain hits the skull. Babies' heads are much larger in proportion as compared to the other parts of their body. This means that babies' heads are heavier too. So shaking a baby has a great impact on their head. It causes the brain to bruise, swell, and even start bleeding. Shaken baby syndrome is a dangerous disorder which can cause serious consequences. If left untreated, a child can experience loss of eyesight or hearing. It can also cause brain damage.  

Extreme irritability

First off, you might notice that your baby becomes extremely irritable. If your baby isn't usually this way, you need to check whether your little one feels ill. If your baby starts crying with a high-pitched sound, try comforting your baby first. An ophthalmologist needs to check the eyes, especially when retinal hemorrhages have happened. As a parent, you're the best person to comfort your baby when feeling this way. Do what you usually do to calm your baby down. If nothing changes, then it's time to have your baby checked.

Shaken baby syndrome


Vomiting and problems with feeding

This symptom is quite vague. There are many reasons why a baby would start vomiting or why you'd have issues with feeding. Check if your baby starts throwing up without any apparent reason. This could be a symptom of shaken baby syndrome. Observe your child to determine whether he's having trouble sucking or swallowing. This is another symptom of the disorder. Try giving your little one his favorite food, one which he loves to eat. If he rejects that too, bring your baby to the doctor.

vomiting Shaken baby syndrome


Difficulty breathing

This is a dangerous symptom of shaken baby syndrome. If you notice that your child has a difficulty breathing, check all his airways. If there are no blockages, immediately bring your baby to the hospital. Also, observe if you need to do CPR. This is essential if the breathing suddenly stops. You may also notice some changes in your little one's breathing patterns. Your baby might suddenly develop a rapid breathing pattern. Either that or he may start having a deep pattern of breathing.

Shaken baby



This is another sign to look out for. Babies and toddlers are normally active. So, when you suddenly notice that your child is lethargic, find out the cause. Maybe your child is just tired or sleepy. In this case, let your little one rest or sleep for a while and observe him when he wakes up. If you know your little one is well-rested and you still notice the lethargy, try playing with your child. Nothing can bring a child out of sluggishness than the thought of playing. However, if the lethargy persists, consult your pediatrician.

lethargic Shaken baby syndrome


Eyes are unable to focus

You can find another sign of this disorder in your baby's eyes. Check the eyes to see if they can focus and follow a specific object. Try some experiments where you catch your little ones gaze using an object. Then, move the object around to see if your child can track it. In more severe cases, you might notice hemorrhages of the retina. If you see this in your baby's eyes, immediately bring him to the hospital for treatment.

eyes Shaken baby syndrome


Head changes

When a baby experiences shaken baby syndrome, it may be so severe that you'll notice a form of head trauma. You'll see swelling, bruising, lacerations or even deformities. Aside from this, you may also notice abnormalities in the shape of your little one's skull. It's important to observe these changes. Keep checking your child's head, especially if you see some of the other symptoms. Try to notice if there are any changes when you check your child's head. If you find any, bring him straight to the hospital for a proper diagnosis.

head Shaken baby syndrome


Paleness or discoloration of the skin

Aside from the eyes and head, also check your child's skin. Another symptom of shaken baby syndrome is paleness of the skin. Your baby's skin might also get a bluish tint. Otherwise, you might notice bruising on key parts of the body, such as arms, chest, and head. If you see any bruises on your child's body, find out where they came from so you can treat them accordingly. If you can't find the reason for the unusual changes in your child's skin, it's best to visit the doctor.

paleness Shaken baby syndrome



Babies and toddlers are unpredictable. One moment they're happy and playful, and in the next moment, they're moody and cranky. But normally, you already have a good idea of your baby's personality and disposition. When your child suddenly becomes unsociable, this can be a sign of shaken baby syndrome. Babies smile, laugh, and coo at people they are familiar with. If this suddenly stops, find out why. Socialize with your little one and expose him to other people. If that doesn't help, there may be a more serious reason why.

unsociable Shaken baby syndrome



This is another harmful and scary symptom of the disorder. It's also an indication that the condition is already severe. By nature, babies and toddlers are mobile beings. They love moving around, exploring the world around them. Because of this, you will be able to spot if your child suddenly has paralysis immediately. When this happens, one or more parts of the body will stop moving. If you notice this, rush your little one to the hospital immediately.

Shaken baby syndrome paralysis


Seizures or unconsciousness

Finally, there are seizures and unconsciousness. These are the scariest symptoms along with paralysis. If this happens to your baby, don't attempt to treat them from home. It's best to bring your little one to the hospital right away. A neurologist needs to check the child's brain for any physiological damages. In doing this, you may be able to save your child's life.

Shaken baby syndrome


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