Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)

Meaning and definition

Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) or Battered Baby Syndrome (or Shaken impact syndrome; Whiplash - shaken infant) is a form of child abuse that occurs when an abuser violently shakes an infant or small child, creating a whiplash-type motion that causes acceleration-deceleration injuries.

The concept of SBS was initially described by Dr. John Caffey, a radiologist.[1]

SBS is often fatal and can cause severe brain damage, resulting in lifelong disability. Estimated death rates (mortality) among infants with SBS range from 15 to 38%; the median is 20–25%. Up to half of deaths related to child abuse are reportedly due to shaken baby syndrome.[2]

Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome

Of course, the most important tip to prevent shaken baby syndrome is to never shake your baby or young child.

Having a baby that is continually crying for hours and hours can be very frustrating, especially for new moms and dads. If you feel that your baby is crying too much and you are not able to cope with it, get help immediately.[3]


In most cases, an angry parent or caregiver shakes the baby to punish or quiet the child. Such shaking usually takes place when the infant is crying inconsolably and the frustrated caregiver loses control. Many times the caregiver did not intend to harm the baby. Still, it is a form of child abuse.[4]


The symptoms can vary from mild to severe. They may include:

* Convulsions (seizures)
* Decreased alertness
* Extreme irritability or other changes in behavior
* Lethargy, sleepiness, not smiling
* Loss of consciousness
* Loss of vision
* No breathing
* Pale or bluish skin
* Poor feeding, lack of appetite
* Vomiting[5]

shaken baby syndrome


[2] ibid
[5] ibid
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