Shaken Baby Syndrome - Essay Example

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Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a serious problem affecting between 1,200 and 1,600 children every year in USA (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2006). Shaken Baby Syndrome is caused as a result of vigorous shaking of an infant or young child…
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Shaken Baby Syndrome
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Download file to see previous pages Today, SBS is recognised as a form of child abuse through out the world and there are laws to protect the child from SBS. This is a serious problem and it is estimated that about 25% to 30% of infant victims with SBS die from their injuries. It is important to note that nonfatal consequences of SBS include varying degrees of visual, motor and cognitive impairments that will last all through life. Studies have also found that the direct costs of child maltreatment are $24 billion annually while indirect costs often exceed an estimated $69 billion annually in USA (2001) (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2006).
It is because of the papers published by John Caffey that SBS is today recognized as a child abuse. Caffey was a radiologist specializing in pediatric cases. Caffey stressed on the point that the multiple limb fractures he observed in babies were the result of abuse. However, it was not until Kempe and his associates at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver published their seminal article in 1962 that the theories of Caffey and others began to gain popularity and recognition (Leestma, 2006).
In general, the injuries that characterize Shaken Baby Syndrome are intracranial hemorrhage i.e. bleeding in and around the brain; retinal hemorrhage i.e. bleeding in the retina of the eye; and other fractures of the ribs and at the ends of the long bones. The impact trauma may add on to the injuries such as bruises, lacerations or other fractures (Sirotnak, et al., 2004). Shaken Baby Syndrome predominantly occurs in infants less than one year of age. These infants below the age of one are susceptible because of their relatively large sized heads, heavy brains and weak neck muscles. The violent shaking of an infant causes the shearing of blood vessels around the brain and subdural haematoma causing irreversible damage to the nerve cells. As a result of these injuries, brain swelling and a lack of blood and oxygen may result, producing further damage to the infant's brain and other parts of the body.
It is usually the parent or the caregiver who is involved in violently shaking an infant that may result in SBS and most of the experts believe that the reasons for this violent act are common in most of the cases such as frequent crying and toileting behavior. The new parents find it difficult to cope with certain behaviors of their new born child and in such cases the crying baby can become the trigger for frustration of parent or caregiver and may result in violent shaking of the baby.
Since the time it is recognized as child abuse, several measures have been taken for the prevention of SBS. Additionally, the identification, evaluation, investigation, management and prevention of SBS require a multidisciplinary approach. It also relies on the knowledge, skills, mandate and jurisdictional responsibilities of key disciplines. It is important for physicians, nurses, and other health care providers to provide adequate information on SBS to the parents and other caregivers. There is also a need for shared commitment and coordination among health, child welfare, police, social services, justice and education professionals, as well as the community at large.
Shaking a child violently is considered as child abuse and a criminal assault. For this purpose, several states in USA have passed bills and in most of these places the legal implications of SBS involve child welfare and criminal investigations. These ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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