FAQs About Shaken Baby Syndrome

The families of victims of shaken baby syndrome are often confused and full of questions. You can find answers to your most frequently asked questions in our FAQs section.
  • Page 2
  • What are the statistics for Shaken Baby Syndrome and Abusive Head Trauma? | Shaken Baby Syndrome Attorney

    Remember approximately four million children are abused annually. Less than half of those cases get reported.

    Approximately two thousand children die from abuse and neglect each year (http://www.childdeathreview.org/causesCAN.htm). There are approximately two deaths per 100,000 children (http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/CMP/CMP-conque.htm). Infants make up almost half of these deaths. Most non-accidental head trauma victims are under one year of age, but may be as old as four years of age.

    Approximately 1,300 children experience near-fatal and fatal head trauma annually. (http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/CM_Data_Sheet.pdf) According to CPS databases, for every one thousand children between the ages of 0 – 1 year-olds, 24 of them are maltreated. And for every one thousand children between the ages of 1 – 3 year-olds, 14 of them are maltreated. According to the CDC, non-CPS studies approximately 4,600 per 100,000 children are maltreated. It is estimated that one out of seven children experiences some kind of abuse between the ages of 2 and 17 years of age. According to some experts, it is postulated that some of the children with attention deficit disorders and autism may have been victims of non-accidental head trauma or Shaken Baby Syndrome that did not get recognized during infancy and young childhood.

    Most Shaken Baby Syndrome cases are inflicted on babies by caregivers and parents. Abusers are more often female however; abuse of greater severity is more often inflicted by male abusers. A majority of those cases involve the boyfriend of the mother or the father of the baby. It is widely accepted that the true number of victims and incidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome is under-reported.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported for 2006 that 1,530 children died in the United States from abuse and neglect. There were 905,000 known child victims of maltreatment that same year.  

    If you have any questions or concerns about what can be done to help babies who have been shaken due to Shaken Baby Syndrome, Child Abuse, or families of babies who have died, please call Christopher Keane and The Keane Law Firm toll-free for free consultation at (888) 592-5437 (KIDS), click on contact us here, or use the web form provided at https://www.keanelaw.com

  • What is Shaken Baby Syndrome and Abusive/Non-accidental Head Trauma | Shaken Baby Syndrome Lawyer

    Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) and Abusive/Non-accidental Head Trauma (AHT) are damaging conditions caused by intentional shaking and/or blunt trauma to the head of an infant or child.  

    Non-accidental head trauma, including Shaken Baby Syndrome, is the number one cause of death for children in child abuse cases. The abusive action of rapidly shaking an infant or child causes the sudden forward, backward and sideway motion of the head. During the shaking action, the brain is injured from hitting against the inside of the bony skull. This violent action causes 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 because it has more water content 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. Significant injury may occur with just several seconds of shaking. Even sudden impact with soft objects like cushions, bedding, and mattresses may be injurious. If shaking occurs alone, there will be minimal outward signs of trauma, if any. However, if blunt trauma occurs during shaking, there will be more evidence of external injury. For example, if a caregiver throws or forcefully places an infant on a surface after shaking the baby for a few seconds, there may be evidence of blunt trauma from sudden deceleration and impact of the head against a surface. 

    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 baby is shaken, the brain and the eyes bleed inside the confined spaces within which they are contained. 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 may cause permanent injury or death for the infant or child. 

    Abusive/non-accidental head trauma (and associated injuries) occurs when the child is hit by an object, or impacts on object, and/or experiences significant force to the brain from speed and sudden deceleration. Keep in mind that the child’s non-accidental head trauma and brain injury may occur without actual physical contact with an object. Immediately following traumatic head injury, the child or infant (depending on the age of the child) may lose consciousness, have nausea, vomiting, confusion, slurred speech, have difficulty swallowing, respiratory problems, weakness, in one, or all, areas of the body and may also have convulsions. Symptoms may not be noticed right away, and may have a gradual onset. Behavioral or mood changes are sometimes the only symptoms. 

    If the child survives the injuries, the symptoms may change over the course of several years from the assault. As the child grows and develops to the ages where higher functioning skills are expected, the true measure of the disabilities the child experiences will become evident. It is common for infants that are victims of non-accidental head trauma and Shaken Baby Syndrome to experience learning disabilities and physical limitations as a result of their injuries. Rehabilitative treatment is likely to be necessary long after the date of the abuse occurs.

    If you have any questions or concerns about what can be done to help babies who have been shaken due to Shaken Baby Syndrome, Child Abuse, or families of babies who have died, please call Christopher Keane and The Keane Law Firm toll-free for free consultation at (888) 592-5437 (KIDS), click on contact us here, or use the web form provided at https://www.keanelaw.com

  • How many children are injured or killed due to Shaken Baby Syndrome each year? | Shaken Baby Syndrome Attorney Help

    Current studies estimate that more than 1000 children are injured and several hundred killed every year as a result of shaken baby syndrome.

    If you have any questions or concerns about what can be done to help babies who have been shaken due to Shaken Baby Syndrome, Child Abuse, or families of babies who have died, please call Christopher Keane and The Keane Law Firm toll-free for free consultation at (888) 592-5437 (KIDS), click on contact us here, or use the web form provided at https://www.keanelaw.com

  • What are the outcomes for non-accidental head trauma versus accidental head trauma in children?

    In general, abusive head trauma outcomes are worse than outcomes for accidental head trauma in children. For accidental head trauma, 55% of victims will have a good recovery. For non-accidental head trauma victims, up to 25% of children will die from their injuries. And for the survivors, approximately 65% of non-accidental head trauma victims will have residual disabilities ranging from mild to severe. Meaning 65% of victims will suffer from permanent cognitive and physical disabilies. In general, even children with mild non-accidental head injuries suffer long-term cognitive and behavioral impairments.  

  • Is the economic downturn linked to a rise in shaken baby syndrome cases?

    According to officials in multiple states that suffered increases in instances of child abuse while simultaneously seeing higher unemployment rates, the answer is believed to be yes.  The most recent state expressing concern is Florida:  according to Fox News, approximately 200 children died from abuse in Florida in 2008, which is about 20 percent more than the statistic from 2007.  According to experts, the "sour economy" contributed to the rise in child abuse cases, specifically those of shaken baby syndrome.  In 2008, the unemployment rate in Florida jumped from 4.1 % to 6.2 %, meaning that approximately 339,600 jobs were lost.  The link?  The most common abusers are unemployed men (between the ages of 18 and 30) who watch children while the mother is at work.  With more unemployment came more cases of shaken baby syndrome and other types of abuse.  Among the most common triggers of abuse are crying, feeding, and toilet training, often triggers that lead to a caregiver shaking a baby.  For these unemployed, non-biological males, the lack of parenting knowledge and skills results in frustration and the inability to cope with common infant actions like crying.

    As a shaken baby syndrome attorney and father of two, Chris Keane works as an advocate for victims of child abuse.  Although nothing can compensate for the tragic and indescribably difficult loss of a child, certain measures can be taken to help surviving family members as they go through the grieving process.  For more information on shaken baby syndrome, wrongful death, and how you can receive free help during your time of need, contact Chris Keane of the Keane Law Firm.

    You may contact Chris Keane online or call 1-888-592-KIDS (1-888-592-5437).

  • What parts of the eye are affected by shaken baby syndrome?

    The parts of the eye most often damaged in the case of shaken baby syndrome are the following:

    • the retina (the light-sensitive tissue of the eye on which a visual image is created)
    • the vitreous humor (the gel between the retina and the lens)
    • and, sometimes, the macula (the part of the eye containing structures that control central vision and clarity of vision).
    The specific ways in which these parts of the eyes are affected are often by retinal hemorrhages (bleeding into the retina) and retinal detachment (the peeling away of the retina from the layer of support tissue beneath it).  If not treated quickly, this type of damage can lead to varying degrees of permanent vision loss, including blindness.

    For more information, feel free to request a free copy of Chris Keane's book, Little Kids in BIG Cases:  Shaken Baby Syndrome.  As an advocate for victims of abusive head trauma, Chris Keane will answer all your questions for free concerning your unique situation and provide you with resources and assistance finding the best medical experts for your child. 

    Contact Chris Keane online
    or call 1-888-592-KIDS (1-888-592-5437).

  • What kind of treatment is common after shaken baby syndrome?

    Although treatment for shaken baby syndrome varies depending on the specific situation and other factors, including the age of the child and the extent and type of injuries involved, some of the following treatments are relatively common among shaken baby syndrome victims (though this is not a comprehensive list):

    Immediate Treatment (or Treatment Early-On)

    • emergency care (and typically admittance to hospital room or ICU)
    • respiratory support (often in the form of oxygen therapy or a ventilator/breathing machine), often to prevent stroke or the death of brain cells
    • surgery (often to decrease brain swelling and stop internal bleeding in the brain)
    • shunts or another means of draining of the blood around the brain
    • medicine for a variety of problems (more commonly, to prevent seizures or decrease brain swelling)
    • an IV (short for intravenous fluids) to keep body fluids and salts under control when necessary
    • a tube for emptying or feeding the stomach
    • treatment for any other injuries, such as broken bones, cuts, or seizures.

    Further Treatment

    • physical therapy
    • vision therapy
    • speech therapy or treatment for hearing loss
    • medication or surgery for mental imbalance or frequent unconsciousness
    • many other treatments.

    The few treatments described here reveal just how serious shaken baby syndrome is.  If you believe your baby has been shaken or suffered head trauma, seek immediate medical attention, and feel free to contact shaken baby syndrome attorney Chris Keane for helpful resources in your time of need. 

    Contact Chris Keane via the web or call 1-888-592-KIDS.

    For more information on treatment for shaken baby syndrome, click here.

  • Does the person who shakes the baby have to be convicted of a crime in order to sue?

    No.  There does not have to be any prosecution in order to sue.  

  • What may a parent do to prevent child abuse and abusive head trauma from occurring in the home?

    It is normal for parents and child care givers to feel stressed and overwhelmed while raising children. So It is important for a parent or child care givers to recognize the symptoms of stress before the symptoms reach a high level. When a parent or child care giver loses their temper, child abuse may result. Make a personal plan to prevent child abuse and abusive head trauma in your home. Your prevention plan can include checking to make sure the baby or child is comfortable, fed and has a dry diaper. If the baby or child is crying, make sure there is no fever or illness that requires a healthcare provider's attention. Once you are sure the baby or child is not ill and has all their basic needs met, then place the baby in a safe place, like a crib.
    It is okay to take a break if you are feeling stressed. It is important for one to have a goal that includes not losing one's temper and not to act out in ways that may harm a child. A parent or child care provider may begin to feel tense or anxious while around the children. Child abuse  prevention includes making a plan to manage these feelings as soon as they start. It only takes a few seconds of loss of control to cause great harm to a baby or child. When you make a plan to prevent child abuse, share the plan with family, friends and other child care givers. Talk to people that will be around your children, so they know about the plan to prevent child abuse. And while you are taking a break, call a friend or listen to music. Don't hold the baby if you are feeling angry or overly-stressed.

    REMEMBER: It is okay for babies to cry, it is normal. The amount of crying a baby does may be expected to increase around the age of six weeks old. Make a plan to help you and others to manage stress during this time. Share the child abuse prevention plan with your babysitter.

  • Is it necessary to prove that someone intentionally injured a baby in a shaken baby syndrome case?

    No.  The Keane Law Firm handles shaken baby syndrome cases that result in civil lawsuits, not just criminal cases.  Civil lawsuits related to abusive head trauma (shaken baby syndrome) focus on instances of negligence rather than crimes, meaning that it is not necessary to prove that someone "intended" to injure the baby.  What is at question in a civil lawsuit for shaken baby syndrome, rather, is whether a person or employee failed to care properly for a baby or child.  While the person charged for shaking a baby may successfully avoid criminal conviction, that person can still be held liable for your child's injuries in a civil case of shaken baby syndrome.  If the jury finds that the person in questions failed to use reasonable care when handling your baby, the person may be responsible for the resulting injuries.

    The Keane Law Firm can represent a baby who has been shaken in civil court even if the criminal defendant is found "not guilty" or if the case is not brought to trial.  If you believe that your baby or a baby you know may be suffering from shaken baby syndrome, contact our firm with your most pressing and concerning questions.  We will answer your questions for free with compassion and professionalism and provide you with the resources you need to determine whether you should pursue a civil case.  1-888-592-KIDS (1-888-592-5437).

    For more information regarding the condition, visit Chris Keane's website devoted entirely to the subject:  Shaken Baby Syndrome Blog.