STOP! Please Don’t Shake A Child

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 12:01 pm

The day dawned at 6:00 a.m. with a diaper change and feeding. You were up several times through the night either changing, feeding or both. You are still trying to get used to having a newborn in the house- trying to get used to not sleeping through the night. A good solid night’s sleep sure would be welcomed. The first couple of weeks you were able to catch a nap in the afternoon and that helped. Lately though it seems the baby is crying most of the afternoon and evening. It is just after lunch and it is finally quiet- perhaps time for a few precious moments of sleep. God please just a few moments sleep. Your eyes close and sleep begins to take over.

The screaming starts from the crib next to you- startling you awake. God all I wanted was a little sleep- is that too much to ask. Yesterday she cried for four straight hours. She just could not be comforted- she just would not STOP. “I can’t go through this again today.” Desperation rises- so too does anger. With just a few steps you are at the crib…the screaming seems louder…you pick up your baby…the anger grows…the desperation…with tears streaming down your face… you would do anything to get the crying to stop…you cry out, stop…please stop…why won’t you stop crying.

Your anger, your fear and your tone are reflected in the baby. The crying gets worse, grows louder, more shrill. Barely aware of your actions you begin to shake your precious child.

STOP-Don’t Do It.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is the name given to a variety of signs, symptoms and behaviors. Shaking a crying child can lead to blindness, lethargy, permanent developmental disability, seizures and death. Shaking a baby is a crime. It may be inflicted by males or females though most often by males. All babies cry and understanding this is often helpful. That a baby cries does not equal bad parenting- not even unrelenting seemingly inconsolable crying. In the past such crying has been called colic. To many, colic sounds like a disease or an illness and the name does not lead to understanding. Now many are referring to this as the PURPLE period. The PURPLE period may begin at 2-3 weeks old and may last until 3 or 4 months of age.

PURPLE stands for:

P:  Peak of Crying- again perhaps beginning at 2-3 weeks and lasting till age 3-4 months

U:  Unexpected and you don’t know why

R:  Resists Soothing

P:  Pain like face- appearing as though they are in pain though they really are not

L:  Long lasting- perhaps up to 5 hours in one day

E:  May cry more in the late afternoon or early Evening.

Many hospitals are providing training to new parents on crying as well as methods to manage both the baby and the stress. They are also providing education about the dangers and hazards of shaking a baby. There are many ways to cope but when the stress and frustration get to the level where an injury may occur:

  • Take the baby to a grandparent or responsible neighbor.
  • Get away- get out. It is better to move out of earshot than it is to harm the child.
  • If you are a grandparent, friend or coworker of a new parent let them know you are willing to help. If you are a parent yourself- tell them you went though some pretty bad times- help them understand they are not alone. Look into hospitals that offer training and education on crying and shaken baby syndrome. Talk to your pediatrician, obstetrician or personal doctor.

Take action before tragedy strikes.

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About the Author

Jim is a transportation safety expert with more than 40 years in both the emergency medical services and the school bus industries. Jim is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team and is proud to have been one of the original contributors to PediatricSafety.net more than 9 years ago.

Comments

2 Responses to “STOP! Please Don’t Shake A Child”

  1. Leslie M. says:

    Being an RN, I’ve seen shaken-baby-syndrome. So sad.

    Thank you for a wonderful article.

    Leslie
    Leslie Loves Vegies

  2. Gosh, I can’t believe we ever have to tell people this. Breaks my heart.

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