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Shaken baby syndrome is brain damage that occurs when a baby is shaken or is slammed or thrown against an object. It is a form of child abuse that occurs when the baby's caregiver loses control. Shaking a baby or striking a baby's head can cause bruising and bleeding to the brain.
Caring for a baby can be trying at times. You may have periods of feeling overwhelmed, especially if your baby is crying. Many babies cry from 1 to 5 hours out of every 24 hours during the first few months of life. Some babies cry more. You can learn ways to help stay in control of your emotions when you feel stressed. Then you can be with your baby in a loving and healthy way.
It may not be safe to take home information about shaken baby syndrome like this handout. Some people ask a trusted friend to keep it for them. It's also important to plan ahead and to memorize the phone number of places you can go for help. If you are concerned about your safety or your baby's safety, do not use your computer, smartphone, or tablet to read about shaken baby syndrome.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think a child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.
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Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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