Monday, June 10, 2013

Calming Your Baby Can be Tough but Remember to Calm YOURSELF too. Facts on Shaken Baby Syndrome

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We all know babies cry, its natural but it can put us all a little on the edge at times. Sometimes we may feel distraught because the crying last for long periods of time and we can't seem to calm the baby. A screaming baby can add to the stress a new parent, caregiver or babysitter already feels. The crying...the late-night feedings...the constant changing of diapers...the resulting exhaustion...add this to the outside stresses of work, social or financial struggles and this all can lead to a very serious problem known as Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).

This is a very real and serious problem that every parent should be aware of. Here are some facts presented by the CDC on this issue. 

  • Babies less than 1 year of age (with the highest risk period at 2 to 4 months) are at greatest risk for SBS because they cry longer and more frequently, and are easier to shake than older and larger children.
  •  SBS is the result of violent shaking that leads to a brain injury, which is much like an adult may sustain in repeated car crashes. It is child abuse, not play. This is why claims by perpetrators that the highly traumatic internal injuries that characterize SBS resulted from merely “playing with the baby” are false. While jogging an infant on your knee or tossing him or her in the air can be very risky, the injuries that result from SBS are not caused by these types of activities.
  • Parents and their partners account for 
  • the majority of perpetrators. Biological 
  • fathers, stepfathers, and mothers’ 
  • boyfriends are responsible for the 
  • majority of cases, followed by mothers.

  • The results of Shaking a young infant can be detrimental and even life threatening. 

    SBS can potentially result in the following consequences: 

    ■ Death 

    ■ Blindness 

    ■ Mental retardation or developmental 
    delays (any significant lags in a child’s 
    physical, cognitive, behavioral, emotional, 
    or social development, in comparison 
    with norms)7 
     and learning disabilities 

    ■ Cerebral palsy 

    ■ Severe motor dysfunction (muscle 
    weakness or paralysis)

    ■ Spasticity (a condition in which certain 
    muscles are continuously contracted—
    this contraction causes stiffness or 
    tightness of the muscles and may 
    interfere with movement, speech, and 
    manner of walking)8

    ■ Seizures

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    Recommendations and Prevention

    The first thing to remember is that infants cry a lot, especially during the first few months. Another important thing to remember is that you are not a bad parent just because you can't sooth your baby. It's not your fault they are crying and neither is it theirs really, its natural. Because it's normal for a baby to cry more often in the first 4 months of life it may help to think of this period as the PURPLE cry period. 

    Peak Pattern: Crying peaks around 2 
    months, then decreases. 

    Unpredictable: Crying for long periods can 
    come and go for no reason. 

    Resistant to Soothing: The baby may keep 
    crying for long periods. 

    Pain-like Look on Face. 

    Long Bouts of Crying: Crying can go on 
    for hours. 

    Evening Crying: Baby cries more in the 
    afternoon and evening. 

    For more information about the Period 
    of PURPLE Crying® and NCBS, visit: 

    Lastly it's important to know the signs of frustrations to prevent SBS. If you feel you are getting to the point where your limits have been met, place the baby in their crib or another safe area on their back. Ensure they are safe and walk away for 5-10 minutes at a time. Call a close friend, neighbor or relative for help to calm yourself and try to remember the PURPLE cry period. 

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