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.
Diagnosis: The doctor will look for the three conditions that often indicate shaken baby syndrome. These are: encephalopathy, or brain swelling; subdural hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain; retinal hemorrhage, or bleeding in a part of the eye called the retina.The doctor will order a variety of tests to check for signs of brain damage and to help confirm the diagnosis such as MRI scan, CT scan, skeletal X-ray, ophthalmic exam.
Most abusive head injuries happen to babies younger than 1 year old (and most to infants younger than 4 months). But sometimes kids as old as 5 get AHT. Babies and young children are especially vulnerable to this kind of injury because their head is proportionally larger than the rest of their body, and their neck muscles are relatively weak, making it harder to support their large head.