Shaken baby syndrome is the most common form of abusive head trauma (AHT). It occurs when a caregiver shakes a child so violently that it causes injury to the child’s brain. Most frequently, it occurs in children one-year old and younger- especially when an adult cannot calm the crying infant. It can also happen when a caregiver becomes frustrated by a toddler or preschooler who is having a temper tantrum or not listening.
Physicians also use the term AHT to refer to a range of injuries, including those caused by blunt force trauma to head. Being thrown, dropped, or receiving a blow to the head all result in similar injuries.
As the child’s head is shaken back and forth, their brain collides with the skull, causing swelling, pressure, bruising, and bleeding in and around the brain. Other potential injuries include:
• Bleeding in the retina- the light-sensitive portion of the eye responsible for transmitting images to the brain
• Fractured bones
• Spinal cord and neck damage
• Speech disabilities
• Hearing impairment
• Memory cognition
• Behavioral/developmental problems
• Cerebral palsy
The scope and severity of these injuries can vary depending on the duration and intensity of the shaking, or the blow to the head. However, any amount of force can cause severe or permanent injuries or even death.
Caregivers and AHT Negligence
Many parents entrust their children to caregivers, babysitters, or daycare workers while they are at work. Sometimes, however, these trusted caregivers fail in their duty to handle a child with compassion and understanding, which can lead to abusive head trauma and the devastating effects of shaken baby syndrome.
Shaken baby syndrome often occurs when a caregiver becomes frustrated with a child’s crying or whining and shakes the child in an attempt to quiet him or her. There are, however, more appropriate methods of response to a baby’s cries. Snuggling, rocking, or offering a pacifier to a crying child are safer, more effective ways of quieting an unhappy child.
Negligent caregivers can, and should, be held liable for any injuries they have caused to your child. While no amount of money can undo the harm caused to your child, parents of injured children can seek compensation to help provide for their child’s care, and help prevent this type of behavior from being repeated. Family members may be able to recover compensation for:
• Past and future medical expenses
• Past and future lost earnings of loved ones furnishing care for the child
• Pain and suffering
• Mental anguish
• Punitive damages
Contact Our Infant Injury Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our infant injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured babies and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If your baby has suffered serious harm due to shaken baby syndrome, we can help. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The personal injury attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Maryland, and throughout Virginia.