Caregivers and the Shaken Baby Syndrome
Pediatric brain injuries caused by abuse, such as shaking, tend to be more severe if the abuser is a male, This information came from a study of Abusive Head Trauma in Children which found there were an equal number of male and female abusers, but that cases which presented with cardiopulmonary or respiratory arrest or required neurosurgical intervention were the result of a male perpetrator. Further to the risk factors in fatal cases was the mother’s live-in boyfriend as the perpetrator. Approximately one-third of the children in the study had previously been seen by a physician, but potential abuse was not recognized.
Certainly, Dr. Esernio-Jenssen’s study points out the importance of early detection of childhood abuse and aggressive reporting. It also highlights, characteristics of households and caregivers which may give rise to the potential for abuse and hopefully strategies to prevent abuse by caregivers from occurring.