Why a shake inflicted on a child under age 2 is so detrimental is because their weak neck muscles are incapable of countering the vigorous whiplash motion imposed on their heavy head. This causes their brain to bounce back and forth within a space between the skull and brain. This space is greater in babies for the purposes of brain development.
Baby shaking causes the hallmark bleeding, bruising, tearing and swelling of shaken baby syndrome because of the extremely fragile brain tissue and blood vessels present at such a young age. And this traumatic brain injury can lead to permanent brain damage.
Beyond shaken baby syndrome’s traumatic brain injury, you can cause other injuries to a shaken baby, like retinal hemorrhage, retinal detachment, spinal cord damage, neck injury and bone fractures. Therefore, a baby shake must never be your outlet for anger.
Symptoms of shaken baby syndrome include:
- lack of appetite
- breathing problems
There may a time delay between the onset of some of these symptoms and the actual shake of a baby.
Traumatic brain injury of shaken baby syndrome requires emergency treatment. And in comparison to accidental traumatic brain injury, the injuries sustained from shaking a baby are often much worse.