Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is also called Abusive head trauma (AHT). This means an injury to a child's brain as a result of child abuse. It is never okay to shake or throw a young child. It may not leave any obvious sign of injury, but it can cause serious long-term problems or even death. This often occurs when a baby won't stop crying and a caregiver loses control of his or her emotions. Parents can help prevent this problem by learning healthy ways to relieve stress and anger. It destroys a child's brain cells and prevents his or her brain from getting enough oxygen.
AHT can happen in children up to 5 years old, and the average age of victims is between 3 and 8 months. However, the highest rate of cases occur among infants just 6 to 8 weeks old, which is when babies tend to cry the most.
Shaken baby syndrome symptoms and signs include extreme irritability, difficulty staying awake, breathing problems, poor eating, tremors, vomiting, pale or bluish skin, seizures, paralysis and coma. Some injuries are not noticeable such as bleeding in the brain and eye, damage to the spinal cord and neck and fractures of the ribs, skull and bones. In mild cases, a child may appear normal after being shaken, but over time he or she may develop health, learning or behavior problems.