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Learn the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome today

BUFFALO — Erie County Social Services Commissioner Carol Dankert-Maurer reminded the community of the dangers of Shaken Baby Syndrome. SBS is a recognized form of child abuse and usually occurs when a parent or other caregiver shakes, slams or throws a baby against an object. While victims of SBS are usually between 3 and 8 months old, SBS has also been reported in newborns and in children up to 4 years old.

“Babies are often shaken by an otherwise affectionate parent or other caregiver, out of anger, especially when the baby is crying,” said Dankert-Maurer. “Experts recommend to parents and caregivers that, if they feel themselves starting to lose control of their emotions around a baby, they should find another responsible adult to watch their child. If that is not possible, they should put the baby on their back in their crib, leave the room for a few minutes, and regain their composure.”

Shaking, throwing or slamming a child against an object causes uncontrollable head movement. This causes tearing in the brain tissue, blood vessels and nerves. The child’s skull can hit the brain with force, causing brain tissue to bleed and swell. At first, injuries associated with SBS may not even be noticeable, with the only initial symptoms being irritability or vomiting. However, victims of SBS often develop additional symptoms, such as lethargy, breathing difficulties and seizures.

“If any parent or caregiver shakes their baby, they should call 911 or take the baby to a hospital,” the commissioner added. “They should not let fear or pride stop them from seeking medical help, immediately. They should tell the doctor or nurse the truth, so they know to look for symptoms. This may save the baby’s life or keep him or her from developing severe mental and physical handicaps.”

Social services estimated that 25 percent of all children diagnosed with SBS die from their injuries. Those who survive may have permanent brain and vision problems, including seizures, cerebral palsy and learning or behavior problems.Visit www2.erie.gov/social services/ to learn more about ECSS or www./dontshake.org/ to learn about SBS.


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