What is SBS/AHT?

What is shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma?

Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a form of abusive head trauma (AHT) that occurs when an infant or young child is violently shaken or shaken and impacted against a hard surface. SBS can cause severe brain damage and is the leading cause of child abuse deaths. An estimated 4 U.S. children are injured by shaking or shaking and impact every day. 25% of all victims die as a direct result of their injuries.

Majority of survivors face severe, lifelong disabilities that may require 24/7 care, including:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Seizures
  • Learning & Behavior Problems
  • Motor/Cognitive Difficulties
  • Blindness
  • Hearing Loss
  • Paralysis
  • Death

SBS is often caused by a frustrated caregiver however any person can shake a baby and cause serious damage.

Common Symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome

  • Lethargy / decreased muscle tone
  • Extreme irritability
  • Decreased appetite, poor feeding or vomiting for no apparent reason
  • Grab-type bruises on arms or chest are rare
  • No smiling or vocalization
  • Poor sucking or swallowing
  • Rigidity or posturing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Head or forehead appears larger than usual or soft-spot on head appears to be bulging
  • Inability to lift head
  • Inability of eyes to focus or track movement or unequal size of pupils

Information on this page is not intended to replace advice by a health care professional. If you are concerned about your child’s health please consult a physician.

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