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What are the consequences of shaking a baby?

The baby is likely to be significantly unwell from the time they were severely shaken. There may be vomiting, irritability, fits (seizures), drowsiness, and even coma. There is a range of severity in this condition, and some babies may be only mildly unwell. However, it will be clear to a parent / caregiver that their baby is not their usual self from the time that the shaking happened. They may be very fussy and go off their feeds, or vomit.

There are serious long-term consequences for babies that are severely shaken. There may be:
  • permanent brain damage
  • paralysis (caused by damage to the spinal cord)
  • blindness
  • deafness
  • fits (seizures)
  • broken bones
  • delays of normal development
  • death
Overall, 15 - 35 percent of babies that are shaken die, and there is permanent brain and / or visual damage in 50 percent of survivors.

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