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Shaken Baby Syndrome in Childbearing Families

  • By: Alice W. Newton
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Shaken baby syndrome, referred to in the medical community as abusive head trauma, is a term used to define the constellation of injuries that an infant or young child sustains when he or she is violently shaken by an adult or adolescent caretaker. Injuries usually include subdural hemorrhage (bleeding around the brain), retinal hemorrhage (bleeding in the back of the eyes), and most important, brain injury. Victims may also sustain soft tissue injury, bone fractures, or abdominal injury, although many victims show no signs of external injury and may only sustain head injury. The impact on parents, siblings, and extended family can be severe and lifelong, as most shaken infants sustain permanent and significant neurologic damage, which can lead to cerebral palsy, blindness, intellectual disability, ...

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