How is shaken baby syndrome diagnosed?

Health care providers do not always get the truth about whether or not shaking was involved in an injury. Also, babies and very small children cannot tell doctors or nurses what happened or what hurts. Many symptoms of shaken baby syndrome (such as irritability, vomiting, or lethargy) are also common for minor conditions like viral infections.

It has been suggested that doctors should use additional tests when a brain injury appears possible. X-rays can show skull fractures and doctors may suggest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests or computed tomography (CT) scans. Special attention should be given to evidence of retinal bleeding (bleeding at the back of the eyes).

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