What is abusive head trauma?
- ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’
- Child Abuse
- Catastrophic injuries:
- Bleeds in the brain and behind eyes
- Babies can be shaken, thrown or hit
- It affects approximately 24 of every 100,000 babies admitted to hospital each year
- Research suggests 1 in 9 mothers may have shaken their baby and up to 2 in 9 felt like doing so.
Who shakes and why?
- 70% perpetrators are males – fathers/male surrogates (Kesler et a 2008; Altman et al 2010)
- Can occur in every socio-economic group
- Coping with crying: Living on the edge
- Caregivers lose control and shake – baby stops crying
- Demonstrable relationship between the normal peak of crying and babies subject to AHT. (Barr et al 2006)
- Increase in cases in the 1st month of life, a peak at 6 weeks during the 2nd month and a decrease during the 3rd to 5th months of life
- Crying is considered the main trigger
- Peak of crying is 6-8 weeks of age
- The parents or the mothers partner are responsible for AHT in 75% of babies
- A majority of perpetrators are male
- The most at risk groups are:
- Male baby
- Below 6 months
- Low birth weight
- Regular contact with health professionals
ICON is a programme of intervention aimed at helping parents and carers with young babies to cope with infant crying.
Most babies start to cry more frequently at about two weeks of age, with crying becoming more frequent and longer lasting during the next few weeks and reaching a peak at six to eight weeks. The ICON programme offers the support to let parents and carers know that this behaviour is completely normal and that they are not alone in dealing with this situation. It is completely natural for babies to cry and it is important to remember that this will stop. After approximately eight weeks babies start to cry less and less each week.
Speak to someone if you need support such as your family, friends, Midwife, GP or Health Visitor.
I – Infant crying is normal
C –Comforting methods can help
O – It’s OK to walk away
N – Never, ever shake a baby
- Are they hungry?
- Are they wet or dirty?
- Are they tired?
- Are they too hot or too cold?
- Are they in pain?
- Do they want to be held?
- Is there too much going on around them?
If your baby is crying constantly
It can be helpful to think ahead and focus on what you can do to help yourself when your baby is crying. Writing down a small plan, make a note in your phone, or even bookmark/favourite this webpage; these things can all help. You might want to ask yourself:
- Who can I go to for help with crying?
- What will I do if I need a few minutes to myself?
- What makes me feel better?
- What makes me feel calmer?