A Jacksonville mother is warning other parents about the shaken baby syndrome, the leading cause of child abuse deaths in the U.S.
Bonita Tate’s daughter Deshauna was shaken by a family member in 1995, when she was a 52-day-old baby.
“When I got home, I found her in her swing, lifeless. She had had no oxygen to her brain for over an hour.”
Now, 22 years later, her adult daughter is nonverbal, uses a wheelchair and still wears diapers.
According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, the No. 1 trigger for shaken baby syndrome is frustration over a baby’s crying, and 25 percent of shaken babies die.
For children such as Deshauna, the complications can last a lifetime.
For resources and where to get information about shaken baby syndrome, visit dontshake.org.
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Shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse. When a baby is shaken hard by the shoulders, arms, or legs, it can cause learning disabilities, behavior disorders, vision problems or blindness, hearing and speech issues, seizures, cerebral palsy, serious brain injury, and permanent disability. In some cases, it can even be fatal.
Ever notice how long it takes babies to hold their heads up? Their neck muscles start out weak and get stronger as they grow. The same goes for their brains, which still need time to develop.
What It’s Not
Shaken baby syndrome is different from gently tossing a baby playfully into the air or bouncing a baby on your knee. Though their brains and necks are fragile, babies are also unlikely to get shaken injuries by falling off furniture or making sudden stops in a car.
Being shaken affects babies in many different ways. Symptoms include vomiting, bluish skin, tremors or shakes, breathing issues, and drowsiness. Babies may also become less interested in eating; have trouble sucking, and stop smiling and talking.
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.