National Council for the Child: Avoid shaking your baby at all costs

Most of the cases are not malicious but due to inexperienced parents who don’t know that shaking can be fatal.

November 4, 2013 16:54
1 minute read.
An infant child.

baby drinking from bottle 521. (photo credit: Reuters)

The National Council for the Child has launched a campaign to fight “shaken baby syndrome,” in which parents, caregivers and others shake infants back and forth out of frustration.

Shaking babies, with their heavy heads and delicate necks, can end in death. Council head Dr. Yitzhak Kadman noted that in the past few days, the parents of twins a few months old were arrested on suspicion that they caused them trauma, by shaking them.

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The council estimates that thousands of young children – especially infants – are abused in this way every year and that dozens die as a result.

The syndrome can be hidden by a variety of symptoms, making it hard to identify the victims, or to create an accurate assessment of the number of cases, he added.

Most of the cases are not malicious but due to young, inexperienced parents who don’t know that shaking can be deadly, the baby’s head must always be supported when held. In numerous cases, the physical damage caused by shaking babies turns up years after the event. During shaking, the blood vessels and the brain are pushed against the skull, potentially causing hemorrhaging and neurological damage, blindness, deafness, learning disability, physical handicaps and even death.

Babies cry when they are hungry and thirsty, tired, need a diaper change, in pain, cold or hot, bored, frightened or need physical contact and love.

If meeting their needs doesn’t bring an end to the crying, give him or her a warm bath, take them in a carriage for a walk in the fresh air or a trip in the car.

Turn on music, let them hear the sound of running water or – if nothing else helps – call an experienced parent for help.

The information campaign is being carried out by parents, babyminders and professionals in the field of medicine, nursing, education and welfare. The council (02) 678-0606, is distributing books on the subject in hundreds of thousands of copies in Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian.

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