Study: Cases of Shaken Babies, Abuse Increase


A new study points to an increasing number of serious injuries from child abuse in Idaho. The analysis, featured in the journal Pediatrics, said injuries—including head trauma—rose nearly 5 percent from 1997 to 2009. A previous study indicated that there had been a drop in serious abuse.

An Idaho physician, who also serves as board member for Shaken Baby Prevention of Idaho, said the organization had seen a 10- to 15-percent increase in serious child abuse cases in 2012.

The Idaho Children's Trust Fund says babies' heads are relatively large and heavy, making up about 25 percent of their total body weight, while neck muscles are weak. When a baby is shaken, the brain rotates within the skull, injuring or destroying brain tissue, according to ICTF.

When shaking occurs, blood vessels feeding the brain can be torn, leading to bleeding around the brain. Blood pools within the skull, sometimes creating more pressure within the skull and possibly causing additional brain damage.

One out of four babies who are shaken die from their injuries, according to Shaken Baby Prevention of Idaho.