How many times do we see videos and movies where the baby is thrown up in the air and caught again? The baby is giggling, looking startled or plain amused. Some gestures we act out on babies may indeed be harmless, like kisses and cuddles, but there is a common one that does more than just rattle a baby for amusement. Doing this to a baby can actually damage your baby's brain, and in severe, cases, even prove to be fatal!
This gesture involves shaking the baby. Yes, shaking. What people sometimes lightly do to a baby in fun, and what some frustrated parents and babysitters have been known to inflict upon babies when under stress. Shaking a baby could lead to a condition called Shaken Baby Syndrome, also known as hematoma or subdural haemorrhage in the medical world. This syndrome leads to pressure on your baby's delicate brain, sometimes causing pooling of blood to form outside of the brain!
What is actually happening when a young baby is being shaken is that the brain bounces back and forth against the walls of the skull. It can be fatal because it destroys the child's brain cells and prevents his brain from receiving oxygen. As per medical reports, more than 80% babies who have been diagnosed with this condition are at risk for developing permanent brain damage.
A lot of times, we as parents and caregivers may be unaware of the impact or trauma caused to the baby's head. We sometimes fail to realise just how fragile a developing brain can be. At least for a few months after birth, a baby's head must always be supported to avoid any sudden head jerks or injuries.
A baby that has been shaken and has had pressure on the brain may experience symptoms like these: