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Shaken Baby Syndrome


Shaken baby syndrome is brain injury caused by violent shaking. Intense shaking causes your baby's brain to bleed, bruise, and swell. This leads to cause decreased oxygen to your baby's brain. It may result in permanent, severe brain damage and can be life-threatening.


Prevent shaken baby syndrome:

  • Find out why your baby is crying: Crying is normal for a child. A baby cries for many reasons. He may be hungry, need his diaper changed, or may be too cold or hot. Sometimes he cries just because he wants to be held. Crying may also be a way for your baby to release stress or tension. Crying may also tell you that your baby is hurt or sick.

  • Choose caregivers carefully: Make sure everyone who cares for your baby, including baby-sitters, understands the dangers of shaking a child. If you have concerns about people who have contact with your child, do not leave your child alone with them.

  • Manage your feelings: It is normal to feel upset and angry when your baby cries and cannot be consoled. Learn how to handle these feelings. Plan ahead to avoid hurting your baby. Call a friend or family member when you feel upset with your child. Post hotline numbers where you can see them and use them. Do the following if your baby is crying hard and cannot be consoled:

    • Stop: Put the baby in a safe place and leave the room. Do not touch the baby if you are very upset or angry.

    • Calm down: Call hotline numbers or a friend or family member for advice and support. Slowly count to 10 and take some deep breaths.

    • Try again: When you have calmed down, go back to your baby and try again to help him stop crying. Try putting the baby in a carrier or take the baby for a walk in a stroller. You may also try to comfort him with his favorite blanket or stuffed animal.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

For support and more information:

  • National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome
    1433 N. Highway 89, Suite 110
    Farmington , UT 84025
    Phone: 1- 801 - 447-9360
    Phone: 1- 888 - 273-0071
    Web Address:
  • The Shaken Baby Alliance
    8551 Boat Club Rd, # 117
    Ft. Worth , TX 76179
    Phone: 1- 877 - 636-3727
    Web Address:

Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child is crying hard and you cannot console him.

  • You have questions about your child's condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You think your baby has been shaken by another person.

  • You think you might shake your baby or hurt him in some other way.

  • Your child is very sleepy, difficult to wake up, or will not wake up at all.

  • Your child has a seizure.

  • Your child is having trouble breathing or stops breathing completely.

  • Your child has no energy or is limp like a rag doll.

  • Your child does not want to eat or is vomiting.

  • Your child is very cranky and crying more than normal.

  • Your child has blood spots or blood in his eyes.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Shaken Baby Syndrome (Aftercare Instructions)