Never Shake A Baby


Why Babies Get Injured By Shaking


Never Shake a Baby

Shaking a young child has a different effect than it does with an adult, or even a ten-year-old. This is because a young child has a large, heavy head, weak neck muscles, and a brain that is still developing.

The brain has not yet fully developed its outer protective layer, so it can be injured more easily. And, the space between the brain and skull is larger, so the brain can travel farther, gaining more speed before impact with the skull.


Shaking a baby causes a whiplash effect. The brain strikes the inside of the skull as the baby's head rapidly moves back and forth. The brain starts bleeding, causing pressure which damages the tissue. The result can be permanent brain damage.

In other cases, shaking has damaged the spine or caused broken bones or dislocations.



The Prevention

The PREVENTION program Never Shake a Baby is a national campaign designed to educate and inform the general public about the physical danger to babies when they are shaken (can cause permanent disability or death). Parents, step-parents, baby-sitters and other caregivers may "shake" babies as a response to inconsolable crying or when experiencing anger with feeding problems or toilet training issues. Twenty-five to fifty percent of the American public does not know that shaking a baby can be extremely harmful. It is estimated that each year thousands of shaken baby syndrome (SBS) cases ranging from mild to severe are seen in emergency centers.

The St. Clair County Child Abuse/Neglect Council Inc. is pleased to present Never Shake A Baby educational materials and workshops to St. Clair County citizens of all ages as yet another way to actively support the belief that

"It Shouldn't Hurt To Be A Child"


The Dangers

Please don't shake an infant. Shaking a young child can cause brain damage or spinal injuries that result in:

  • Death
  • Blindness
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Seizures
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Paralysis

People who shake their infants don't mean to hurt them. Some shake babies to interrupt what seems like endless crying, while others are simply playing. Play it safe and remember...

Never -

  • Shake A Baby
  • Toss a small child in the air.
  • Bounce a baby on your knee or swing her/him on your foot.
  • Spin a child around.
  • Let a child learning to walk, fall repeatedly.

Always -

  • Support your baby's head while holding, playing with, or transporting her/him.
  • Hold and cuddle the baby to express love.
  • Make sure anyone who handles your baby knows the dangers of shaking.
  • Go to a doctor immediately if you suspect the baby has been injured through a fall.
  • Learn what to do if your baby won't stop crying.

When Baby Cries -

  • Pick up the baby and comfort her/him.
  • Check the baby's diaper and change it if wet or soiled.
  • See if the baby is too hot or too cold.
  • Burp the baby.
  • Feed the baby slowly and burp the baby often.
  • Offer the baby a pacifier.
  • Take the baby to a quiet room.
  • Hold the baby against your chest and walk or rock him/her.
  • Take the baby for a ride or put her/him in a baby swing.

If the crying wears you out or upsets you, separate yourself from the baby for awhile. Put the baby in his/her crib, leave the room, and shut the door. If possible, ask someone else to take over comforting the baby. Then, call someone to talk to or do something you find relaxing.