What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a medical term. It describes the brain trauma that results from the violent shaking of an infant or child. In America, 1,200 children a year are hospitalized or killed due to shaking. In Southeastern Wisconsin, an average of 20 babies are shaken each year. Most are less than six months old.

A baby’s head is larger in proportion to its body; neck muscles are weak. This makes them more prone to injury. Of children who are shaken, 25-30 percent die. The rest suffer from a variety of damaging effects. Shaking a baby has life long consequences ranging from subtle to severe.

Signs of a shaken baby may include:

  • Speech and learning disabilities
  • Behavioral problems
  • Intellectual disability
  • Developmental delays
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Epilepsy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Permanent vegetative state
  • Death