Shaken baby syndrome can occur in children up to the age of five, although most of the time it involves children who are six months old or younger. Infants and young children are prone to experiencing severe consequences when they are shaken by a caregiver because of the proportionately large heads they have for their body size, as well as their weak neck muscles.
Shaken baby syndrome can cause permanent brain damage or even death. If you suspect your child has experienced shaken baby syndrome in a daycare setting, the daycare can be held legally responsible for any injuries. In addition, criminal charges are likely since this is considered a form of child abuse.
How Shaken Baby Syndrome Occurs
When an infant or young child is crying inconsolably, it is easy for caregivers to become frustrated. The best thing to do when this happens is to put the child into a safe place, such as a crib, and take a few moments to regain composure.
Sometimes, caregivers let their frustration get the better of them. They shake the baby in an attempt to quiet the child. The shaking often brings an end to the crying, but this is usually because there has been brain damage.
Infants and young children have weak blood vessels in their brains. When they are forcefully shaken, their heads move uncontrollably—causing their brains to slam against the insides of their skulls. This leads to bruising, swelling, and bleeding in the brain.
Signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome
When children are too young to verbalize what has happened to them, parents must remain alert to the signs of a potential injury.
Brain injuries generally show themselves in different ways, including:
- Lack of a pulse
- Loss of consciousness
- Breathing issues
- Uncontrolled crying
- Lack of appetite
- Not nursing
- Alteration in sleeping habits
Bleeding in the eyes, larger than normal head size, or swelling in the soft spot on your child’s head are also warning signs of shaken baby syndrome.
How Shaken Baby Syndrome Is Diagnosed
If you suspect your child has been a victim of shaken baby syndrome, call 911 immediately.
Doctors will look for three conditions that usually indicate shaken baby syndrome:
- Brain swelling
- Hemorrhage in the brain
- Bleeding in the retina
Your child’s doctor may order an MRI scan, CT scan, or X-ray. Doctors may also order blood tests to rule out any other disorders or conditions.
What to Do if You Suspect Shaken Baby Syndrome at Daycare
At the ER, tell the doctor you suspect your baby has been shaken at daycare. When your child is examined, the doctor is required by law to notify the police if shaken baby syndrome is suspected. Shaken baby syndrome is a criminal offense, and if it happens at daycare, the employee who abused the child may face charges as well as his or her employer.
Beyond the criminal charges that are likely, there may also be a civil case. You should contact a daycare injury lawyer who can fight to help ensure your family recovers fair damages. This may include compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost income while you care for your injured child
- Pain and suffering
- Any costs related to the child’s future disability
- Additional out-of-pocket expenses
How The Button Law Firm Can Help
If your child has been a victim of daycare abuse, including shaken baby syndrome, please call our office today. As a parent, it is up to you to protect your child. At The Button Law Firm, our daycare negligence team is ready to answer all of your questions and discuss the next steps. We can guide you through the legal process so you can focus on your child’s medical treatment and recovery.