Is shaken baby syndrome preventable?

Yes. Do not shake babies or children, EVER.

What can parents or caregivers do when babies cry?

When truthful answers are given about shaking babies, the parent or caregiver most often says that the shaking occurred when the baby was crying inconsolably. There are some things that you can do to avoid the likelihood of becoming angry and shaking the baby.

  • First, check to make sure that nothing obvious is wrong with the child. You should check to see if diapers are clean and if the baby is hungry or cold. Make sure there is no sign of illness, such as fever or swelling. You should also check that there is no situation that is causing pain.
  • If the baby's needs are met, try using noise. You can put on a radio, or sing and talk to the baby. Sometimes babies like noises like vacuum cleaners, clothes dryers, hair dryers or fans.
  • Offer the baby a toy or pacifier.
  • Take the baby or child for a ride in the car, appropriately secured in his or her car seat.
  • Try a swing.
  • Ask someone else to take over for you for a period of time so you can have a break and calm down. This person who may take over can be a friend, a coworker, a neighbor, or a family member. It is very reasonable to ask for help. Babies cry an estimated one to three hours per day.
  • If no one else is available to take over for you, put the baby safely in the crib and leave the room for ten minutes or so while you calm down. Remember, crying won’t hurt babies, but shaking will.


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