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Abusive head trauma is a form of child abuse typically sustained by young infants. We previously called this, shaken baby syndrome. Injuries result from violent shaking or shaking and then dropping or impacting a baby s head on an object. The injuries can be devastating because it s a total brain injury, meaning the entire brain can swell, carrying lifelong side effects. Head trauma is the leading cause of death in child abuse in the U.S.

April is Child Abuse Prevention month. There are groups across the country working to improve injuries to children that occur from abuse.

Facts about abusive head trauma:

  • Results from shaking the head of infant or small child
  • Cases are up 55 percent since 2007 (recession), to 17/100,000 births
  • 68 percent of babies who suffer abusive head trauma will have long-term neurologic impairments
  • 52 percent of abusive head trauma patients will have behavioral problems

Preventing abusive head trauma:

  • Inconsolable crying is #1 trigger for shaking
  • Remember crying is normal
  • Education on normal crying
  • A statewide Abusive Head Trauma Task Force was created in 2010
  • Use of PURPLE Crying Prevention

What parents need to know:

  • All babies cry, and some will cry up to 5-6 hours a day
  • Crying peaks around 6-8 weeks of age
  • Support new parents, take turns caring for infants
  • Read about PURPLE

More information:

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