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Shaken Baby Syndrome becoming more common

Posted 1/15/2008

UNCE reveals measures to prevent SBS happening to your child

There’s a reason why you don’t shake a baby — permanent, severe brain damage and even death.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) has become more common in the United States where 1,300 children experience severe head trauma from child abuse every year, according to a North Carolina research project published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) now has brochures available on SBS and how to prevent it from occurring.

The No. 1 reason that leads caregivers to violently shake their baby is crying, which can be difficult because frustration.

Dr. Jo Anne Kock, area extension specialist of children, youth and families, examines the causes, symptoms and prevention of SBS, a term used to describe this type of inflicted traumatic brain injury. It can lead to bruising, swelling and bleeding, but the most common characteristic is bleeding in the brain. Shaking a child can also result in paralysis, seizures, blindness and/or deafness, mental retardation, dyslexia and death. Approximately 20 percent of cases are fatal in the first few days after the injury. The majority of survivors are left with handicaps.

SBS is easily preventable, especially when a caregiver learns to keep from losing control with a crying baby that results to shaking. One option is educating other caregivers about the danger of shaking a baby is one of the most important actions because approximately 30 per 100,000 children under age 1 suffer inflicted brain-related injuries.

Many methods are available to help a crying baby such as holding close and rocking, wrapping in a soft blanket, feeding slowly, putting on soft music, singing and having patience.

To learn more ways to save the lives of thousands, visit www.unce.unr.edu and click on the publications tab and search "Shaken Baby Syndrome" under the title category. You can also reach Kock at (702) 257-5521 or www.unce.unr.edu/areas/southern.

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