Shaken baby syndrome occurs when, due to shaking, a baby’s brain rebounds against his or her skull. This impact can cause the brain to bleed, swell, and bruise. This, in turn, can lead to any number of problems, including cognitive delays, learning disabilities, mental retardation, hearing loss, blindness, impaired use of the arms or legs, paralysis, problems with speech, and even spinal injury. Shaken baby syndrome leads to death for around one out of every four victims. Another quarter of the victims of shaken baby syndrome will survive only to die later due to a related injury.
Shaken baby syndrome is almost never caused by accident. Half of the time, the baby is shaken by a parent. The other half of the time, it is someone else in the baby’s life such as a caregiver. Often, shaken baby syndrome occurs when a baby will not stop crying and the parent or caregiver loses control of his or her temper. Because of this, shaken baby syndrome tends to occur more among babies that have colic than other babies. It is not that the colic causes the shaken baby syndrome, obviously, but rather that a colicky baby is going to cry more, which in turn raises the chances that a parent or caregiver will shake them.
There are some remedies that you can try in order to reduce colic. From supplements such as those contained in gripe water to using CDs with white noise, parents of babies with colic have successfully used a variety of things to help their baby with colic to settle down. Again, it is important to remember that it is not the colic, but the adult, that causes shaken baby syndrome.
If you feel as though you are out of control due to a baby with colic, you should do everything that you can to avoid losing your temper. Whether it is simply allowing your baby to cry for a minute or two while you go to another room and relax, or whether it is through another method, you need to be aware of your temper level and be ready to regain control. If you feel as though you might harm your baby, you can certainly call a health care provider, or even emergency services or 911. Asking for help from another adult, such as a friend, spouse or parent can also help you to relieve your stress at the baby’s colic long before shaken baby syndrome ever becomes a danger.