Myths About Baby Sleep And SIDS

We need more training to get a driver’s license than to become a parent, in our culture. Even though we would benefit from parental education, some of us have never even held a newborn before having one of our own. And we often rely on advice from friends and family, much of it outdated or just plain wrong.

When it comes to baby sleep, bad advice can be dangerous. October is Safe Sleep Awareness month, an opportunity to learn more about sudden unexpected infant death and debunk the myths about what is sabotaging your sleep and highlight habits that potentially risk your baby’s safety.

Myth 1: Your baby sleeps best in a silent room

Not true. In fact, total silence can make it hard for your baby to doze off. Remember, the womb is noisy: louder than a vacuum cleaner and running 24 hours a day. For nine months, your little one’s been lulled to sleep by the rhythmic whooshing of the blood flowing through the placenta. To her, the quiet of the average home is jarring. Plus, in a silent room, she’s more likely to wake up when a loud truck on the street or any other bump in the night breaks that silence. The truth is your baby will sleep best if you play loud, rumbly white noise during all naps and nights.

Myth 2: You should never wake a sleeping baby

Nope. You should always wake your sleeping baby using a little technique called “wake and sleep.” It gently teaches your child the important skill of self-soothing. Here’s briefly how it works: Starting as early as the first day of life, wake him up the tiniest bit after sliding him into bed. Just tickle his neck or feet until his eyes drowsily open. Very soon after, he’ll drift right back into slumberland. In those few semi-awake seconds, he’s just soothed himself back to sleep — the first step toward sleeping through the night.

Myth 3: Some babies sleep worse when swaddled because they want to be free

Not really. Your baby may fuss and resist swaddling at first so it may look like she hates it. But babies don’t need freedom, they need the feeling of security they had in the womb. Without wrapping, your infant will flail her arms, whack herself in the face and startle easily throughout the night. That’s a recipe for poor sleep.

Swaddling is the first step to calming, and it’s important you don’t stop there, especially if your infant’s been fighting it. To help her settle, you’ll want to layer in other womb-mimicking steps: “shushing,” side/stomach position, swinging and sucking, which, along with swaddling, make up the 5 S’s of setting up a baby for sleep success. And once the S’s become part of your sleep routine, she’ll give up her battle! (Note: Side/stomach position is for calming only, never for sleep.)

Myth 4: We should teach babies to sleep in their own rooms

Having our babies grow up to be independent takes a long time. There’s no need to rush it. In fact, having your new child sleep in another room is inconvenient (for feedings and diaper changes) and possibly dangerous. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the parent’s room for at least six months (always on their back, in their own bed). The simple practice has shown to significantly reduce the rate of sudden infant death syndrome.

Myth 5: Swaddling should be stopped after two months

Swaddling reduces crying and increases sleep. But new research shows that swaddled babies who roll to the stomach have double the risk of SIDS compared with an unswaddled baby rolling over. As a result, the pediatrics academy is now recommending that parents stop baby-wrapping at 2 months. On the face of it, the group’s new advice seems to make sense, but it completely ignores the risks of not swaddling.

In an eight-year review of data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, only 22 sudden unexplained infant deaths related to swaddling were reported; almost 50% were in sleep sacks (a wearable blanket), and 90% were found in the stomach and/or with bulky bedding. (Note: Fatalities categorized as sudden unexplained infant death include sleep deaths from accidental suffocation, strangulation, and SIDS.)

During those eight years, hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of babies were swaddled. Since sudden unexplained infant death strikes one in 1,200 babies, one would have expected hundreds or perhaps thousands of swaddle-related deaths over this period if wrapping caused these deaths. Of note, during the same eight years, 1,026 deaths related to sofa sleeping were reported to the safety commission.

The point is, though swaddling may introduce a theoretical risk, there is not a lot of proof it is causing a true increase in sudden unexplained infant death. On the other hand, swaddling has been shown to reduce infant crying and boost sleep. That is of critical importance because the stress provoked by persistent fussing and parental exhaustion is a potent trigger for postpartum depression, child abuse, car accidents and even risky sleeping practices, which are associated with up to 70% of all infant sleep fatalities.

We don’t want babies rolling over swaddled, but we also don’t want them rolling over unswaddled during the 2- to 4-month-old peak period for SIDS. An unswaddled baby can roll to an unsafe position more easily than one whose movement is restricted by snug swaddling. And, since swaddling improves sleep, unwrapped babies wake more often and are more likely to tempt their tired parents to fall asleep with them in their beds.

To solve this tricky problem, I assembled a team of MIT-trained engineers and renowned industrial designer Yves Behar to invent a type of swaddle that keeps sleeping babies safely on the back. In October 2016, my company Happiest Baby debuted Snoo, the world’s first responsive bassinet that employs this special swaddle, which clips to the base of the bed to prevent rolling. This innovation allows parents to reap the substantial benefits of swaddling for a full six months without any of the risks.

Myth 6: Putting babies to sleep on the back has solved SIDS

The National Institute of Health-led Back to Sleep campaign quickly reduced sleep deaths from 5,500 in 1994 to 3,500 in 1999. However, for the past 17 years, progress has completely stalled. The tragic truth is that 3,500 infants die during their sleep each and every year. Although more babies are sleeping on the back, the rate of accidental suffocation and strangulation infant deaths has quadrupled since the mid-1990s. What’s behind this alarming trend? Unsafe sleeping practices. Seventy percent of all sudden unexplained infant death victims are found in adult beds, sofas, and other risky locations.

A recent study revealed that while most parents fully plan to follow the ABCs of safe sleep (Alone, on the Back, in a Crib), less than half actually do it. And by the end of the night, about 60% of babies have migrated from their bassinet to their parents’ bed, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Lactation.

The terrible, unintended consequence of the Back to Sleep campaign is that it has worsened infant sleep. Babies just don’t sleep well on their backs in still, quiet cribs. And as discussed in myth 5, when babies don’t sleep well, parents resort to bed-sharing, which leads to many more infant suffocation deaths.

It is very important that parents continue to place their babies to sleep on the back, but they also need to start using more tools to improve their child’s sleep. The good news is that there are three effective ways to boost slumber for back-sleeping babies: sound, swaddling, and rocking.

Rumbly white noise is inexpensive and very effective for improving a baby’s sleep. Snug swaddling is too, but as explained above, pediatricians now recommend that parents stop wrapping at 2 months old. Motion, or swinging, is also great, but the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that sleeping in sitting devices, such as rockers and swings, may allow a baby’s head to roll forward and cause accidental suffocation and death.

These are issues we sought to address with the Snoo bed. It allows for safe swinging (it is totally flat), safe swaddling (the baby can’t roll over) and safe sound, as the sound increases when a baby cries but then immediately softens — after the baby calms — for all-night sleep promotion. We designed it to deliver the right level of womb-like stimulation that is right for any particular baby to calm his or her fussing and boost sleep.

For nearly 20 years, despite enormous public health educational programs, we have failed to reduce infant sleep death. But, by focusing on sleep efficacy (boosting a baby’s sleep), we now have a very exciting means to prevent many — if not most — of these deaths. And as a health bonus, improving sleep efficacy may also allow us to reduce other serious and unsolved health problems triggered by exhaustion and crying, such as postpartum depression (with about a half million cases diagnosed a year) and shaken-baby syndrome (1,300 incidents a year).

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

This article was originally published by CNN. Click here to read the original.

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Titusville Daycare Worker Arrested For Shaking An Infant

A Titusville woman was arrested Saturday for allegedly abusing an infant in her care this summer, officials with the City of Titusville said.

Police responded to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children on Aug. 8 after hospital administration reported a possible case of child abuse to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Police said the baby was picked up from Dawn Michelle Garcia’s in-home unlicensed daycare facility before being taken to the hospital.

Garcia told the mother the baby was “super playful” and flipped over a toy at her home during the day. Investigators determined the 12-18 inch-tall toy was not one the infant would have the psychical ability to sit on or play with unassisted.

The infant’s mother told police when she picked up the baby began to vomit and “appeared ill,” according to the report. The mother took the baby to Parrish Medical Center, but the infant was flown to Arnold Palmer after a CT scan revealed the extent of the injuries.

The preliminary investigations show that the infant was suffering from abusive head trauma, also known as shaken baby syndrome.

Doctors wrote that the infant was “subjected to severe acceleration/deceleration forces from severe rotation of the child’s head during a shaking episode,” according to the arrest warrant.

It is still unknown what long-term injuries the baby will suffer from, according to the arrest affidavit. Doctors told the infant’s mother that follow up testing will determine if the baby will have permanent hearing loss because of the abuse.

Garcia, 47, is charged with aggravated child abuse and held on $25,000 bail in the Brevard County Jail.

A spokesperson from DCF told News 6 that the department responded to the home in August just after the incident and discovered there was an illegal home daycare being operated.

There was a cease and desist letter generated and executed. There is no record of Garcia being licensed as a child care provider with the department.

DCF also reminds families to check online to see if their daycare center is licensed.  Some Florida child care centers also earn a Gold Seal designation, reflecting quality in the level of care and supervision provided to children.

To search licensed child care providers and see inspection histories, click here.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Click here to read the original.

The History of Shaken Baby Syndrome

In March of 2014, a Yolo County jury returned with a verdict of not guilty on two charges involving the tragic death of a three-month-old baby. In this case, the father, Quentin Stone, was accused of shaking the baby to death and faced felony charges in connection with the baby’s death in September 2012.

The prosecution focused the jury on the serious injuries that their experts testified caused the death of the young baby. One by one, day after day, these experts would testify to what they saw in the X-rays, blood work, and what was found in the autopsy.

The prosecution’s case was based on the notion that the injuries were a direct result of shaking the baby violently on more than one occasion. However, the science of shaken baby syndrome has been called into question in recent years.

The key prosecution expert, Dr. Bennet Omalu, testified that there was no doubt that the baby died of a severe traumatic brain injury.

He would testify, “Sam’s injuries were not sustained from a fall. It was non-accidental. An infant’s motor abilities are very small and the injuries incurred would require a lot of mass and energy.”

However, Dr. John Plunkett, a critic of shaken-baby theory, would testify a few days later that it is was just as likely that Samuel’s injuries resulted from a fall from a three-foot-high bed onto the hardwood floor.

In his book that was just released, Mark Godsey, a former federal prosecutor who now works for the Ohio Innocence Project, writes, “For the past two decades, hundreds if not thousands of people in this country have been convicted based on a medical theory that we now know is invalid and can lead to wrongful convictions.

“This medical theory stated that if a dead or severely injured infant is reported to the hospital with three specific symptoms—bleeding in the retinas of the eyes, bleeding under the Dural matter of the brain (subdural hematoma), and brain swelling—then the baby had to have been shaken by a caretaker.

“Only intense shaking, the theory went, could cause those three symptoms to be present at the same time. So if a parent or a babysitter called 911 when an infant lost consciousness, and it was later determined that those three symptoms were present, whoever was caring for the infant at the time would be charged and likely convicted of murder (or assault if the baby lived) for allegedly shaking the baby.”

However, we now understand that “various conditions and illnesses can cause these three symptoms.

“Short falls” he said, “such as falling off a couch or diaper-changing table—can cause these symptoms as well in some circumstances.”

Radley Balko in a February 21, 2014, article writes, “For years, expert witnesses told jurors that if a deceased infant has a series of symptoms—bleeding at the back of the eye, bleeding in the protective area of the brain and brain swelling—then the child died from vigorous shaking. Typically, they’d state that the victim couldn’t have died from anything else.”

However, Professor Godsey writes that “many individuals charged with murder under this theory have been acquitted in recent years, if they have had the funds to pay for medical experts to dispute the prosecution’s experts espousing the shaken baby syndrome theory.”

That doesn’t mean that people have not caused infants deaths through shaking babies.  The problem is that the system is not well set up to deal with competing medical testimony.

“The science has shifted. In recent years, there has been a growing consensus among experts that the neurological symptoms once viewed as conclusive evidence of abuse may well have natural causes, and that old brain injuries can re-bleed upon little or no impact,” wrote Northwestern University Professor of Law Deborah Tuerkheimer. “Current science raises significant questions about the guilt of many caregivers convicted of shaking babies.”

The problem is, “Our legal system has been slow to absorb this new reality. As a consequence, innocent parents and caregivers remain incarcerated and, perhaps more inexplicably, prosecutions based solely on the ‘triad’ symptoms continue even to this day. The cautionary tale of Shaken Baby Syndrome shows that our system is too inclined to stay the course, and awful injustices can result.”

As Radley Balko put it, “Things get murkier when the question isn’t who committed the crime, but if a crime was committed at all.”

He notes, “The new research into SBS doesn’t state definitively that without external injuries, a child couldn’t have died from shaking. It suggests only that there are other possibilities—that shaking wasn’t the only possible cause of death. It isn’t an advance in science that will produce dispositive exonerations. It’s an advance that merely calls prior convictions into question.”

As he writes, “We haven’t yet found an adequate way to deal with that. DNA testing has forced the courts to admit when the criminal justice system definitely got it wrong. But the courts are much less likely to take action when new research suggests the system might have made an error.”

Mr. Balko concludes, “Now that we know that the criminal justice system is prone to error, perhaps it’s time to revisit the post-conviction emphasis on finality, particularly in cases decided on evidence that science later calls into doubt.”

By all measures, Quentin Stone is fortunate. The Yolo County Public Defenders’ office had the resources to pay for experts, and Monica Brushia and Martha Sequeira were able to get the jury narrowly to acquit. The science advanced far enough with our understanding of SBS for the defense to raise counter-evidence that was enough to produce reasonable doubt and acquittal.

But SBS is both a problem for the legal system in general and a cautionary tale about unproven scientific theories.

On November 4, Ms. Brushia will be at the Vanguard event to talk about the issue of shaken baby and this trial. Tickets are available here.

Click here to read the original version of this article.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Plagued by Denial? Shaken Baby Syndrome

Pediatricians need to be prepared to fight the “denialism” of shaken baby syndrome that has cropped up in both the media and among the general public, and do all they can to be aware and educate their patient population about the problem, a speaker said here.

Shaken baby syndrome exists, but the diagnosis is continually challenged by the court system, as well as various well-meaning groups like the Innocence Project, said Sandeep Narang, MD, of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, in a talk at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) annual meeting.

“There is, just like in any other denialism topic — like anti-vaxxers or climate change — a denialism that still exists about shaken baby syndrome and it’s impacting court proceedings,” Narang told MedPage Today.

Narang said that this “denialism” can be seen in both the medical literature, with “editorials or commentaries” by people who have a “philosophical bias against it.” He added that the lack of quality filtration mechanism does not preclude these views from getting into court, and it has impacted court cases and child protection proceedings, giving these views a “misperception of validity.”

Moreover, the Innocence Project, who looks to get wrongfully convicted criminals acquitted, has taken on denial of shaken baby syndrome as a “second mantle,” Narang said, and claimed that it’s an invalid diagnosis that wrongfully imprisons people.

“It’s a clever marketing technique — they get prominent newspapers to take on the mantle of it because from a media perspective, the angle of being wrongfully convicted and oppressed by the system is a narrative that’s obviously interesting to look into,” he argued.

However, shaken baby syndrome can be extremely difficult for clinicians to diagnose. Narang said that the symptoms — such as vomiting or irritability or even a mild bruise — can be easy to dimiss because the child gives no indication that their brain is being repeatedly injured and “we don’t know how to pick up on that clinically.”

He said that in the literature, around 30% of kids who died from shaken baby syndrome had clear findings that clinicians didn’t act on.

“It’s our natural bias not to want to see it,” Narang said. “But we have to fight that bias and be more vigilant clinically and not be afraid to do a little extra testing when we suspect something might be wrong.”

Narang also advised vigilance in terms of identifying potential patients they’re concerned about in “high-risk scenarios” for shaken baby syndrome and address their parents and caregivers to let them know it is a real medical diagnosis. It’s also important to ask if they have enough support at home. He said that if clinicians are aware that it’s there, and if they can see the risk factors, they can educate those parents and caregivers about those potential situations.

“Make sure they can understand it’s okay to put the baby down if they get into a frustration event,” he added.

For his part, Narang is trying to raise awareness about the issue, so that pediatricians can advocate for it on both a national and local level. He is involved in revising the AAP policy statement on abusive head trauma to include prevention strategies for shaken baby syndrome.

He said that he wanted to come up with a “cool acronym” to try to advise clinicians about shaken baby syndrome.

“I came up with the three As — be aware, advocate and educate spelled with an A,” Narang said. “But clinicians need to be aware that this is there and they need to act and do something about it.”

Click here to read the original version of this article.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Isabella Galan: Fighting Against Shaken Baby Syndrome

For more than four hours on Saturday, a 12-year-old girl will crochet caps for newborns that will be donated to charities to use in their education campaigns regarding shaken baby syndrome.

Isabella Galan, a seventh-grader at Immaculate Heart of Mary School, is hoping others will join her, her mother, a few classmates and others to crochet or knit the caps with them at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church on Ratzer Road, or donate supplies the purple yarn needed to make the hats.

“Isabella’s thrilled and this has all inspired her so that she wants to make it a yearly event,” said Maria Galan, Isabella’s mother. “It’s such a positive day so we’re both really excited for Saturday.”

Isabella plans to donate the caps to Prevent Child Abuse in New Jersey, which will donate the caps to hospitals throughout New Jersey. The charity is a partner with Oklahoma-based Clicks for Babies, which is running the hat-making campaign.

“When you have a young person like her taking this on and helping us combat child abuse, it’s incredible,” said Gina Hernandez, the vice president of Prevent Child Abuse in New Jersey. “We’re so incredibly excited to partner with her and have her as part of our team.”

Isabella began knitting the caps after she learned about Clicks for Babies campaign and that some parents shake their newborn children and either kill them or permanently injure them.

“She was beside herself that people can really do it,” Maria Galan said.

In the past month, Isabella and Maria Galan have made 35 caps. Isabella has recruited her school’s knitting club to help make the hats and about half a dozen others have joined the effort.

The hats are meant to remind new parents that they should never shake a baby.

The Galan family will continue collecting hats until Sept. 27.

Supplies and finished caps can be donated at the Immaculate Heart church or Maria Galan can be contacted by emailing her at GirlOnDuty@hotmail.com.

Click here to read the original version of this article.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Shaken Baby Syndrome And You

Abusive head trauma (AHT), which includes Shaken Baby Syndrome, is a preventable and severe form of physical child abuse that results in an injury to the brain of an infant or child. AHT is most common in children under age five, with children under one year of age at most risk. It is caused by violent shaking and/or with blunt impact. The resulting injury can cause bleeding around the brain or on the inside back layer of the eyes.

Nearly all victims of AHT suffer serious, long-term health consequences such as vision problems, developmental delays, physical disabilities, and hearing loss. At least one of every four babies who experience AHT dies from this form of child abuse.

Research shows that AHT often happens when a parent or caregiver becomes angry or frustrated because of a child’s crying. The caregiver then shakes the child and/or hits or slams the child’s head into something in an effort to stop the crying.

Crying—including long bouts of inconsolable crying—is normal behavior in infants. Shaking, throwing, hitting, or hurting a baby is never the right response to crying.

How Can Abusive Head Trauma Be Prevented?

You can play a key role in preventing AHT by understanding the dangers of violently shaking or hitting a baby’s head into something, knowing the risk factors and the triggers for abuse, and finding ways to support parents and caregivers in your community. CDC’s technical package for preventing child abuse and neglect[PDF 3.90MB] identifies a number of strategies to help states and communities prioritize prevention activities based on the best available evidence.

If you are a parent or caregiver

  • Understand that infant crying is worse in the first few months of life, but it will get better as the child grows.
  • Try calming a crying baby by rocking gently, offering a pacifier, singing or talking softly, taking a walk with a stroller, or going for a drive in the car.
  • If the baby won’t stop crying, check for signs of illness and call the doctor if you suspect the child is sick.
  • If you are getting upset or losing control, focus on calming yourself down. Put the baby in a safe place and walk away to calm down, checking on the baby every 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Call a friend, relative, neighbor, or parent helpline for support.
  • Never leave your baby with a person who is easily irritated or has a temper or history of violence.

If you are a friend, family member, or observer of a parent or caregiver

  • Be aware of new parents in your family and community who may need help or support.
  • Provide support by offering to give a parent or caregiver a break when needed.
  • Let the parent know that dealing with a crying baby can be very frustrating—especially when they are tired or stressed, but infant crying is normal and it will pass.
  • Encourage parents and caregivers to take a calming break if needed while the baby is safe in the crib.
  • Be sensitive and supportive in situations when parents are trying to calm a crying baby.
  • Be supportive of work policies (e.g., paid family leave) that make it easier for working parents to stay with their infants during the period of increased infant crying (i.e., between 4-20 weeks of age).

Click here to read the original version of this article.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Mother Speaks Out After Baby Is Violently Shaken

An eight-month-old baby is at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. Police say they believe the infant was shaken by her babysitter. The babysitter in the case has been lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

She’s been charged with assault one, but depending on the baby’s condition, those charges could change.

“I’m heartbroken. Completely heartbroken,” the baby’s mother said.

Angelica Cadwallader’s heart sank when she received a phone call last Friday afternoon telling her that her 7-month-old — now 8-month-old — baby was unconscious.

“I never thought in a million years I’d get a 911 call like this… my goal has always been to protect my baby girl,” Cadwallader said.

Cadwallader says baby autumn was being watched by an old friend in Medford while she was at work.

“I trusted her… 110 percent I gave her all my trust,” Cadwallader said.

Medford Police say they believe Autumn was shaken by her babysitter.

“Serious concerns when we have an unconscious 7-month-old child. It raises a lot of red flags and concerns that we have,” Lieutenant Kerry Curtis said.

According to police, detectives determined it wasn’t an accident.

25-year-old Alicia Gunn has been charged with assault one and was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday.

“Putting your child in the trust into somebody else to take care of your child and then to learn that something terrible has happened… is… I can’t imagine what they’re going through. I’m sure it’s absolutely devastating to them,” Lieutenant Kerry Curtis said.

Cadwallader says she’s trying to remain positive.

“She was like a firecracker. She was so happy and she just learned to crawl… always on the go since she learned to crawl,” Cadwallader said.

And she says she’s doing all she can to stay strong for her baby girl.

“I hope that… I get to bring her home soon,” Cadwallader said.

Police say Autumn is still suffering from seizures and bleeding in the brain.

If you’d like to help the family, you can find the GoFundMe link here.

One of the biggest factors leading to Shaken Baby Syndrome is a caregiver just getting frustrated with a baby’s crying and ultimately shaking the baby.

Educators like Tracy Hanson say it’s important to know how to handle a child going through a period of what is called ‘purple crying’ – a phase in a baby’s development when they cry the most.

“The most important thing is to place your baby in a safe environment and step away if we’re feeling frustrated or if we’re feeling overwhelmed because we know that a crying baby truly is one of the things that can lead to Shaken Baby Syndrome,” Providence Birthplace Educator Tracy Hanson said.

According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, there are around 1,300 reported cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome every year and upwards of 80 percent of survivors suffer lifelong disabilities.

Click here to read the original version of this article.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

What You Should Know About Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome refers to a type of brain injury that happens when a baby or a toddler is shaken violently. More often than not, this shaking is perpetuated by someone who has normal contact with the baby. Shaking can cause bleeding in the brain (subdural hemorrhages) or bleeding in the retinas (retinal hemorrhages).

When a child is shaken, the brain bounces back and forth against the sides of the skull. Infants’ heads are very large and heavy in proportion to the rest of their bodies. This causes swelling, bruising, and bleeding in the brain.

If you see someone shaking or abusing a baby (physically or verbally), don’t wait! Intervene immediately, and call the police.

What are the symptoms of SBS?

A child or baby who has been shaken and has pressure on the brain may have symptoms such as these:

  • Extreme irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Poor appetite or feeding problems
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Lethargy (extreme tiredness, lack of movement, inability to stay awake)
  • Pale- or blue-colored skin
  • Bruising, such as grab marks, on the arms or chest
  • A forehead that appears larger than usual, or a soft spot that seems to be bulging
  • Inability to lift his or her head
  • Tremors (the shakes)
  • Inability to focus or follow movement with his or her eyes
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma

Who is most at risk for SBS?

SBS happens most often in infants up to one year, with infants aged two to four months being most at-risk. SBS does not usually happen after age two, but children as old as five or six can be damaged in this way if the shaking is extremely violent.

Why do people shake babies?

There are a number of reasons that explain why someone might shake a baby, but none of those reasons are valid. It’s a crime to shake a baby, and the consequences could mean the death of a young child.

How is SBS treated?

SBS should be treated immediately. Parents or caregivers need to take the child for emergency medical attention as soon as they are aware that the baby has been shaken. The adults should also tell the healthcare provider that the baby has been shaken. Caregivers who are not telling the truth may say that the child has fallen. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, children may require treatment such as respiratory support or surgery to stop bleeding.

Some symptoms show up right away, but others may not show up until later. Some children may experience attention problems and behavior problems later in life due to being shaken when they were infants.

How is SBS diagnosed?

Health care providers do not always get the truth about whether or not shaking was involved in an injury. Also, babies and very small children cannot tell doctors or nurses what happened or what hurts. Many symptoms of SBS (such as irritability, vomiting, or lethargy) are also common for minor conditions like viral infections.

It has been suggested that doctors should use additional tests when a brain injury appears possible. X-rays can show skull fractures and doctors may suggest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests or computed tomography (CT) scans. Special attention should be given to evidence of retinal bleeding (bleeding at the back of the eyes).

Is SBS preventable?

Yes. Do not shake babies or children, EVER.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

You Can Fight Shaken Baby Syndrome

Can you crochet or knit? The Oklahoma State Department of Health is looking for donations of purple, handmade newborn hats for its Click for Babies campaign.

Birthing centers across the state will distribute hats to babies born in November and December, along with information that can prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Organizers want purple for a purpose.

“The Period of PURPLE crying is the period in an infant’s life when they’re going to cry more so than any other time in their life,” Amy Terry, the department’s adolescent health coordinator, said. “And during that period parents need to understand that that’s a normal part of development.”

PURPLE is an acronym that stands for the traits exhibited during the time frame:

  • Peak of crying – the Period of PURPLE starts around two weeks, peaks at two months and ends around three-to-four months.
  • Unexpected – during this period, crying can come and go and you don’t know why.
  • Resists soothing – it can be difficult to get crying to stop, no matter what you try.
  • Pain-like face – babies look like they’re in pain while crying, when they are not.
  • Long-lasting – babies may cry up to or more than five hours a day.
  • Evening – crying is more common in the late afternoon and evening.

“Shaken baby is most often caused by frustration with crying,” Terry said. “So that’s why it’s so important that we educate families and we educate caregivers about this period in time when babies are going to cry more often.”

According to the State Health Department, every year Shaken Baby Syndrome happens to 1,200 to 1,400 children across the U.S. and more than 300 babies die because of shaking.

“Shaken Baby is one of those issues that is 100% preventable and education has shown to make an impact on reducing it,” Terry said.

In order for hats to be distributed in the cold months, donations must come in by October 1. The department will continue to accept donations past that day, but they will not go to hospitals for distribution until the following year.

Terry said the goal is to collect 4,300 hats.

Organizers ask hats be about 14 inches in diameter and at least 50% purple. They must be free of choking hazards like pom-poms and made of soft yarn.

Mail donations to: Oklahoma State Department of Health, ATTN: Maternal and Child Health, 1000 NE 10th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299.

Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.

To learn more about me, please visit my website at www.ScottJuceam.com or you can click here.

Never Shake A Baby!

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) – also commonly known as abusive head trauma (AHT) – is a severe and preventable form of child abuse which often results in traumatic brain injury, and in extreme cases can lead to death. Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs when a child (usually under the age of five) is forcibly shaken. Even if the shaking is done only for a few seconds, the resulting injuries are almost always severe, and life-altering. Children who have been shaken often experience bleeding behind the eyes, and around the brain which can lead to a variety of disabilities.

Most survivors of SBS suffer from long-term disabilities due to being shaken as a child, including vision problems, physical disabilities, hearing loss, delayed learning, and many others. One in every four children who go through this abuse perishes from their injuries.

Shaken Baby Syndrome and abusive head trauma happen most frequently when a parent or guardian becomes angry or frustrated with the child, and resort to shaking him or her. This most commonly happens to infants who are crying for long periods of time. When the child won’t stop crying, sometimes frustrated adults will shake the child in an effort to stop the crying. However, the actions committed in those few moments of anger can drastically change a child’s entire life.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is a form of abuse that is completely preventable. It is normal for infants to cry for long periods of time, and as they grow older, the crying will subside. Frustration is a natural feeling, but shaking a baby is NEVER the correct response.

If you have a baby that won’t stop crying, take a step back and realize that even just a few seconds of shaking can take your child’s life.

Shaken baby syndrome symptoms and signs include:

  • Extreme irritability
  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Breathing problems
  • Poor eating
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Pale or bluish skin
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

Other injuries that may not be initially noticeable include bleeding in the brain and eye, damage to the spinal cord and neck and fractures of the ribs, and bones. Evidence of prior child abuse also is common.

In mild cases of shaken baby syndrome, a child may appear normal after being shaken, but over time he or she may develop health, learning or behavior problems.

When to see a doctor

Seek immediate help if you suspect your child has been injured by violent shaking.

Contact your child’s doctor or take your child to the nearest emergency room. Getting medical care right away may save your child’s life or prevent serious health problems.

Healthcare professionals are legally required to report all suspected cases of child abuse to state authorities.

Never shake a baby!

Visit my website today to learn more. www.ScottJuceam.com.