Tonya M. Kasper, 28, of the Town of Menasha, faces potential felony charges related to child abuse and the critical injuries her infant daughter has sustained. The critically injured infant girl is currently hospitalized at Fox Valley Children’s Hospital due to injuries consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. The infant’s injuries include bleeding in the brain and eyes. The baby girls’ injuries were noticed first on September 4, 2008 at a relative’s house. Ms. Kasper has a criminal history involving drugs and is currently being held in jail due to a probation violation.
Infants generally receive medical care and evaluation at their well-baby checks during the first four months of their lives. It is unclear whether a health care provider came in contact with this infant and may have noticed any signs of abuse. State laws require healthcare providers to report signs of child abuse because they are mandated reporters.
What causes SBS?
Factors may be present that cause adults and their infants and children to be more at risk for abusive events such as SBS. Infants at risk include infants less than one year age, male infants, infants of twin or multiple births, premature infants, infants with health problems and infants that have inconsolable crying spells. Adults at risk for committing abusive acts include adults with poor coping skills, unrealistic expectations, substance abuse, former victims of abuse and adults with mental health problems. Environmental factors that usually culminate in abusive events include social isolation, dysfunctional family characteristics and socio-economic burdens. However, SBS may occur in any setting and it is important to know the signs and symptoms that may be present in an infant or child that may be a victim of SBS.
What are the signs and symptoms of SBS?
The common signs and symptoms of SBS include poor feeding, failure to thrive, vomiting, weakness, irritability, a change in overall muscle tone, decreased alertness, seizures, pale skin color, cool skin temperature, difficulty breathing and sudden respiratory or cardiac arrest. The fontanelles may be swollen depending on the age of the infant. It is important to remember that there may be no bruising, scrapes or outward physical signs of trauma. There may be only a change in behavior as described in the first sentence. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.