There have been a lot of reports lately in the news about injuries and deaths of young children due to being shaken by an adult responsible for the child’s care. Often the shaking occurs when the caregiver is tired, frustrated and is unable to get the child to stop crying. Unfortunately, shaking a baby usually leads to severe injury and even death. The following information is adapted from a publication by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Family Health Services. For more information contact, Prevent Child Abuse Oklahoma at 1-800-CHILDREN.

What is Shaken Baby Syndrome? It is a brain injury that can happen to a child under age six when the head is shaken back and forth in a whiplash motion. When a child is shaken, the fragile brain is slammed up against the skull of the child causing severe bleeding, bruising and swelling in the brain. Never, Never, Never, Shake a Baby! Shaking a baby can cause blindness, permanent brain damage, even death. Please, never shake a baby or young child.

How Can I Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome? Never shake a child, for any reason!

Always provide support for the baby’s head when holding, playing with or transporting him or her.

Learn what to do if the baby will not stop crying. Remember that all babies cry, some a lot, during the first few months of life.

Make sure that everyone who cares for the child (including baby-sitters, child care providers, relatives and friends) knows the dangers of shaking babies and young children.

Play gently with babies.

What If a Baby is Shaken? Get the baby to the emergency room immediately! . . . even if you feel embarrassed or guilty. Quick medical attention can prevent future problems and may even save a child’s life!

Following in Sunday’s nespaper will be a grandmother’s promise to her granddaughter, a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome. (Story is from National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome website

Editors note: The child abouse series will continue in Sundays newspaper, with the remainder of this story, as well as others.

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