Parents know how frustrating it can be when babies won’t stop crying, no matter what they do. If a caregiver gets overwhelmed while trying to console a baby, the best thing to do is to put the child down in a safe place and walk away for a few moments. However, sometimes caregivers allow their frustrations to get the better of them and they shake the child in an attempt to quiet them. The child may stop crying, but the shaking often causes brain damage that can have lasting impacts.
What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Shaken Baby Syndrome, or SBS, happens when a caregiver violently shakes a child. According to The Mayo Clinic, SBS destroys a child’s brain cells, and prevents the brain from getting enough oxygen, resulting in severe brain damage or sometimes death. When a baby is shaken, their brain moves around in the skull, causing bruising, swelling, and bleeding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the injuries from SBS are similar to what an adult may experience from repeated car crashes. The CDC reports it is difficult to know exactly how many cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome happen every year, but a study from North Carolina suggests three to four children sustain a severe or fatal head injury from child abuse every day.
According to the CDC, babies less than a year old are at the greatest risk for SBS, with the highest risk being for babies who are between two and four months old. There are several reasons why babies this age are more susceptible. First, developmentally, younger babies are more likely to cry inconsolably. Second, babies have weak neck muscles and they are not able to support the weight of their heads. Finally, babies this age are smaller and easier to shake. Children are less susceptible to SBS as they get older, although it has been reported in children up to age five. In many cases of SBS, there is evidence of prior physical abuse or shaking, according to the CDC.
What Are The Symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Since young children are unable to tell parents or caregivers what has happened to them, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of SBS. They can be wide-ranging and include:
- Extreme fussiness or irritability
- Difficulty staying awake
- Breathing problems
- Poor eating
- Pale or bluish skin
It’s important to keep in mind that symptoms may not appear right after the baby was shaken. According to The Mayo Clinic, a child may seem normal after a mild case of shaken baby syndrome, but developmental and health problems may appear over time.
What Kind of Injuries Does Shaken Baby Syndrome Cause?
If you suspect your child 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.
Even if a child is shaken for a brief time, the consequences can be severe and life-long. The Mayo Clinic reports many children who are victims of SBS die. If the child survives, they could suffer from:
- Partial or total blindness
- Developmental delays, learning problems, or behavior issues
- Intellectual disability
- Seizure disorders
- Cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects movement and muscle coordination
These conditions require life-long care and medical treatment. Depending on the severity, a parent may have to stop working in order to care for the child full-time. The medical expenses, loss of income, and even loss of future enjoyment are all damages our team at The Button Law Firm may be able to help recover.
Why Should I Consider Hiring a Lawyer?
While Shaken Baby Syndrome is child abuse, and something that charges can be filed for, it’s likely there’s also the opportunity to file 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
It’s important to work with a law firm that has experience fighting to get justice for kids and their families who are the victim of abuse at the hands of their daycare. Our team at The Button Law Firm has been fighting for these families for years.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Quickly Should I Contact a Lawyer?
It’s best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Most states require people to file for civil cases within a certain period of time, known as the statute of limitations. That time frame varies from state to state depending on the nature of the incident and the people involved. It’s best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure there is enough time to file your case.
Why Should I Work With The Button Law Firm?
At The Button Law Firm, we have a passion for helping people. It drives our team to work hard for the families and children we represent every day. It also means that we will not take on your case unless we believe we can help. If we take on your case, you can be sure that it will get the care and personal attention it deserves.