Stephanie Spurgeon of Palm Harbor owned and operated a daycare out of her home. Investigators reveal that on Friday, she was arrested for suspicion of child abuse. News stories report that a one-year-old girl was brought to her home for daycare services on the day before her arrest. The child was sluggish, sleepy and unresponsive when her family arrived to pick her up. She was taken to the local emergency department and found to have injuries indicative of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Ms. Spurgeon remains jailed until bail is set.  

According to the CDC, 1,490 children died from abuse and neglect in the Unites States for the year 2004. This number decreased in 2005 to 1,460 deaths. Greater than 75% of these deaths occurred in children under four years of age. A total of 872,000 children were reportedly abused in that same time frame. In 2005, child protective services investigated 3.6 million cases of reported child abuse complaints, which resulted in discovery of 899,000 cases of child abuse. Girls are at a higher risk to be victims of maltreatment than boys. Mothers have demonstrated more frequent abuse and are generally younger in age than male adult abusers. However male adult abusers inflict more severe abuse outcomes.  

Shaken Baby Syndrome is a common form of child abuse found in infants. Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is an injurious condition caused by the shaking of an infant or child.  The rapid shaking of an infant or child causes the sudden forward, backward and sideway motion of the head. During the shaking the brain is injured from hitting against the inside of the bony skull, causing inflammation, bleeding, separation of vessels and nerve fibers in the soft brain tissue on all sides of the brain. The brain of an infant or child is very soft and it is easier to injure than an adult brain. Therefore, less energy is required to cause lethal injury to an infant or child’s brain.  In SBS, the eyes may get injured by the sudden increase in pressure and motion around the soft tissues that make up the delicate structure of the eyes. After the shaking, the brain and the eyes bleed inside the confined spaces they are contained in.  This bleeding causes high pressure to build within the head and eyes. The damage caused by shaking the head, brain and eye structures and the increasing high pressure that follows causes permanent injury or death for the infant or child. If death does not occur the infant or child may be left with permanent brain damage, blindness, neuromuscular disability, paralysis, deafness, learning disabilities and/or a seizure disorder.    

Christopher Keane
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California Child Abuse and Child Injury Lawyer
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