oec: Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome

Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome

  {Dad with crying baby}
Did you know that shaking a baby for as little as three seconds is dangerous and can be fatal? Sometimes a crying baby is more than you can bear, but shaking your baby out of frustration or anger may result in Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), which includes brain damage, blindness, spinal injuries and paralysis, seizures and even death.

Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome begins with five key steps:

  1. Tell anyone who cares for your child about the dangers of shaking a baby.
  2. Give caregivers permission to call you any time they become frustrated.
  3. Babies cry, so have a plan.
    • Give yourself a break. Take a deep breath and lay your baby on its back in a safe place
    • Sit down or leave the room
    • Count to 10 - or more
    • Talk to another adult
    • Call a friend
    • Call the doctor
  4. Don't take it personally. Your baby is not upset with you. He or she may be:
    • Hungry: Feed or offer the baby a pacifier
    • Bored: Rock or walk with the baby, or go for a ride
    • Frustrated: Pat or massage the baby. Your touch lets him know he's safe
    • Angry: Sing to her or put her in a swing
    • Sleepy: Soothe him with a lullaby or other calming music
  5. Reduce your stress!
    • Take a break
    • Make friends with other parents with whom you can share parenting tips and seek advice on calming a crying baby
    • Talk to someone you trust when you feel tired or overwhelmed
    • Take a parenting class
    • Remind yourself that it's normal for your baby to cry. Your baby's tears are not an indication that you are doing something wrong or failing as a parent

Listen to a radio interview about the Period of PURPLE Crying (7:30, mp3)

Call the Child Development Infoline at (800) 505-7000 for more information on preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome, or for connections to support in your community.

Content Last Modified on 8/10/2015 8:09:04 AM