CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Babies have weak neck muscles and often struggle to support their heavy heads. If a baby is forcefully shaken, his or her fragile brain moves back and forth inside the skull. This causes bruising, swelling and bleeding.
Shaken baby syndrome usually occurs when a parent or caregiver severely shakes a baby or toddler due to frustration or anger — often because the child won't stop crying. Nothing justifies shaking a child.
Shaken baby syndrome isn't usually caused by bouncing a child on your knee, minor falls or even rough play.
- Abusive head trauma: Shaken baby syndrome. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Abusive-Head-Trauma-Shaken-Baby-Syndrome.aspx. Accessed Aug. 5, 2011.
- Never shake your baby! March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/28127.asp. Accessed Aug. 5, 2011.
- NINDS shaken baby syndrome information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/shakenbaby/shakenbaby.htm. Accessed Aug. 5, 2011.
- Christian C, et al. Epidemiology, mechanisms, and types of abusive head injury in infants and children. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 1, 2011.
- Christian C, et al. Evaluation and diagnosis of abusive head injury in infants and children. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 1, 2011.
- Barnes PD. The imaging of nonaccidental injury and the mimics: Issues and controversies in the era of evidence-based medicine. Radiologic Clinics of North America. 2011;49:205.