No one likes to hear a baby or child cry for a long time. It is irritating and frustrating. Infants cry for different reasons. Some cry at feeding time. Some cry before bedtime or when they are tired. Just feeding or changing may be all they need. A baby may cry when sick or colicky. Here are some things you can try when your baby is crying:
- Feed the baby slowly, burping often.
- Offer the baby a pacifier.
- Check the baby’s diaper; change it if needed.
- Hold the baby safely against your chest. Walk or rock the baby.
- Take the baby for a ride in a stroller or car.
- Sing or play soft music to soothe the baby.
- Call a friend, neighbor or parenting network. ASK FOR HELP.
- Place the baby in a safe, quiet place and leave the room for a few minutes until you gain composure.
* If your child has a fever or you think your child is ill, call a doctor or nurse.
Signs and Symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome
Ranging from subtle to severe, they include:
- Irritability or fussiness; extreme irritability for long periods
- Excess crying; cannot be consoled
- No smiling; no happy noises
- Loss of alert involvement or interaction
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Poor feeding; gagging or choking on food
- May need to go back to liquids rather than solid foods
- Unable to eat or keep food down; vomiting
- Sensitive to light
- Eyes do not follow movements
- Unequal size of pupils; eyes bloodshot or crossed
- Irregular breathing
- High pitched /forced / whiny cry
- Bulging fontanel or forehead
- Limp posture; unable to lift head
- Body rigid
- Arches back; stiff, outstretched limbs
- Seizures or convulsions
- May become unconscious, comatose
- May die
How to Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken Baby Syndrome is a most severe form of child abuse. Awareness and education are the keys to prevention. Protect your family and others. Do the following: Talk about caring for and coping with an infant or small child
Discuss with family members and caregivers:
- Why babies cry; how to give them comfort and care.
- How and where to get help.
- How to know when you have reached your limit in caring for an infant.
Discuss the painful reality of SBS. Spread the SBS message to all who have contact with an infant or small child
- Choose a caregiver wisely and carefully. Check references. Be certain your caregiver is trustworthy. Know that your child will be safe.
- Know your caregiver. Watch how she/he handles different situations. Clearly state what you expect.
- Tell everyone who cares for your child shaking is never allowed.
- Use Shaken Baby Association school based curriculum.
- Tell everyone you know: “Never Ever Shake a Baby – Pass it on…”
Who shakes vulnerable, defenseless children?
Men in their early twenties are the most common abusers. Half of all abusers are the child’s natural parents; over two-thirds are fathers. The other half includes boyfriends of the mother, unrelated caregivers, day care providers and stepparents. The most common reason for shaking is frustration and loss of control due to baby’s crying.
What to do if SBS strikes your family
- Seek immediate medical attention; call 911.
- Ask for a fundoscopic exam (examination of the eyes).
- Accept that anyone who cares for your child could be responsible for shaking the child.
- Get complete, detailed accounts of what happened. Find out the actions of the child and of any and all care providers.
- If SBS is detected, proper authorities must be called.
- Cooperate with medical staff, law enforcement investigators, and child welfare professionals. Be honest and helpful. It is in the best interest of the child.
- Seek the help of clergy or counselor.