Preventing Head Trauma and Safe Sleeping Messages

Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board have shared nationally their work regarding preventing head trauma and reiterating the safe sleeping messages in the community.

Icon have developed a leaflet on ‘Infant crying and how to cope’  which you can DOWNLOAD HERE.


Overview

What is abusive head trauma

  • ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’
  • Child Abuse
  • Catastrophic injuries:
    • Bleeds in the brain and behind eyes
    • Fractures
  • Babies can be shaken, thrown or hit
  • It affects approximately 24 of every 100,000 babies admitted to hospital each year
  • Research suggests 1 in 9 mothers may have shaken their baby and up to 2 in 9 felt like doing so.

Who shakes and why?

  • 70% perpetrators are males – fathers/male surrogates (Kesler et a 2008; Altman et al 2010)
  • Can occur in every socio-economic group
  • Coping with crying: Living on the edge
  • Caregivers lose control and shake – baby stops crying
  • Demonstrable relationship between the normal peak of crying and babies subject to AHT. (Barr et al 2006)
  • Increase in cases in the 1st month of life, a peak at 6 weeks during the 2nd month and a decrease during the 3rd to 5th months of life

Triggers

  • Crying is considered the main trigger
  • Peak of crying is 6-8 weeks of age
  • The parents or the mothers partner are responsible for AHT in 75% of babies
  • A majority of perpetrators are male
  • The most at risk groups are:
    • Male baby
    • Below 6 months
    • Low birth weight
    • Regular contact with health professionals