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Baby Care Basics: What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Your munchkin is vulnerable to brain trauma. Learn how you can prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome.

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Shaken Baby Syndrome is a form of trauma that occurs when a baby or small child is shaken so hard that it causes brain damage. Babies are especially vulnerable because they have a weak neck, large head in proportion to their body and softer brains. Even just four or five seconds of shaking can cause blindness, eye injuries, long term mental and physical problems and even death. Shaken Baby Syndrome often happens when an exhausted parent or care giver gets so frustrated by a baby's constant crying that he or she loses control. If you find yourself getting angry with your baby try taking these three steps. Let him cry. There's nothing unsafe or abusive about putting your baby in his crib or another safe place and walking to another room and allowing him to cry for five to ten minutes. Take a breather. Take 10 slow deep breaths. Remind yourself how young and how blessed your child is. Ask for help. See if a friend or relative can stay with your little one while you take time for yourself. If you think a care giver may have shaken your baby, or if your spouse did in a moment of frustration, go to an emergency room right away. Any brain damage that might have occurred will get worse without immediate treatment.