Vomiting, chills, bluish skin, respiratory failure or even stopping it, drowsiness, cramps - these are just a few of the symptoms that may indicate a baby's shaking syndrome.
In the long run, this can cause brain damage, blindness, deafness, problems with intellectual development, disability, spinal injuries of varying severity, paralysis and even death, writes Delphi... Neither those who shake their child from powerlessness so that he “finally stops yelling”, nor those who toss the baby into the air for a beautiful photo on Instagram, do not think about such consequences.
Most often, children under the age of one year suffer from this, when the parent or other person who is looking after the child does not psychologically cope with his crying and hopes that he will be able to calm the child by shaking him or his stroller. However, shaking a child or throwing it into the air is dangerous, and it is especially dangerous for children under the age of about five.
Strong shaking causes uncontrolled movements of the baby’s head, resulting in serious, and sometimes even fatal, damage to the brain or spine. The seriousness of the injuries is also facilitated by the underdeveloped musculature of the child, as well as the fact that his head is both larger in weight and in size compared with the rest of the body than in an adult.
“Throwing a baby into the air or shaking is not allowed under any circumstances! Rapid back and forth movements of the head, not limited by the weak muscles of the neck, cause the brain to strike the inner surface of the skull. As a result, blood vessels in the brain may burst, ”explains Arta Bardzina, head of the clinic for anesthesiology and intensive care at the Children's Clinical University Hospital.
One thoughtless action, restraint, is enough to shake the child once at the moment of anger, so that he remains disabled for life. However, it should be borne in mind that irreversible damage to a child is often caused by parents who are quite conscious and self-controlling or other people who look after the child, who unknowingly throw the child into the air, holding their armpits.
Any actions leading to uncontrolled shaking of the child’s head can be fatal or leave serious consequences for the child’s health throughout life.
In addition to the symptoms already mentioned, for example, nausea, drowsiness, cramps, there may be symptoms that cannot be noticed immediately, for example, fractures of the ribs or bones, injuries to the spinal cord or neck, intracerebral hemorrhage.
What if the baby is crying?
More often than not, children are shaken when the person looking after the child can no longer stand crying, or, in their opinion, "whining".
Crying babies always have a reason, and the anger on the part of the person who is looking after the baby, or, moreover, physical impact, can excite the baby even more. First, you need to try to understand the cause of crying and eliminate it. In cases where it is impossible to do this right away and the child continues to cry, and you are “soaring”, you need to remember the following:
- the parent or the person who is looking after the child should remain calm himself - hold the baby to you, swing, talk to him in a quiet voice, give a drink;
- put the child in a stroller and at least take a walk in the immediate vicinity;
- keep rational thinking - your anger or other aggressive actions will not calm the child, but rather excite even more;
- If you feel that emotions are getting out of control and you are alone in the room, leave the child for a few minutes in a safe place and go to another room to calm down. If there is someone else near you, ask for help, rest, calm down.
Of course, these are not the only ways to calm the baby. Let your creativity come to the rescue - young children like the uniform noise that can be made, for example, by a hair dryer, a washing machine, a fan. Measured movements can also help your child calm down. Use everything that helps you and your child calm down!
It is very important to remind about the shaking syndrome of the baby and how to prevent it, to those people whom you trust for a while to look after the baby - parents, friends, acquaintances. It is also important to recall the tossing in the air and other physical activity that can lead to shaking of the head. Ignorance of an adult or momentary weakness can very negatively affect the health of the child throughout life.