In Burleson, Texas, Tye Liner was a victim of child abuse and Shaken Baby Syndrome. His father, Timothy Liner, is facing murder charges and life in prison if convicted. On February 14, 2007, Tye Liner was taken to the hospital after EMS was contacted for reports that Tye was choking. EMS transferred Tye to Huguley Memorial Medical Center and then to Cook Children’s Medical Center for continued life support. Tye never woke up or was able to breath on his own without ventilator support. Despite advanced measures to save Tye’s life, he passed away on February 16, 2007. Timothy Liner initially told investigators from the Burleson Police Department that Tye spit up, choked and stopped breathing. He later told investigators that Tye rolled off of a couch and that he fell while carrying Tye. News stories report Dr. Jayme Coffman testified that Tye’s injuries were consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is sustained when an infant is subjected to violent shaking. Dr. Coffman also testified that the explanation provide by Mr. Liner is not consistent with Tye’s injury patterns.
Risk 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.
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.