Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a violent form of child abuse that frequently results in permanent infant brain damage. Shaken baby syndrome occurs when someone (usually a parent, guardian, or babysitter), out of frustration or stress, aggressively shakes a baby. Infants’ neck muscles cannot support their proportionately heavy heads; the whiplash motion causes their brains to impact the walls of the skull. Bruising, tearing, and brain swelling result; additionally, there may be retinal hemorrhages (leading to blindness), damage to the spine (causing paralysis), and further injuries. Victims are usually younger than 2, however, it can occur in children even up to the age of 5.
Symptoms of shaken baby syndrome include dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, seizures, vomiting, changes in eating patterns, pale or bluish skin, convulsions, and extreme lethargy. If a child survives SBS, he or she will likely have a lifelong neurological or mental disability. Cerebral Palsy and mental retardation are common consequences of shaken baby syndrome.