Family Violence – Shaken Baby Syndrome

Raising a child is never easy, especially for first-time parents. The child’s needs could include hunger, feeling uncomfortable with the temperature, needing a diaper change, being in discomfort or pain, or simply just feeling afraid. Dealing with a new tiny human being who cannot communicate his/her needs and wants, parents and caretakers alike are bound to get frustrated with the baby’s endless cries at some point. 

However, at no point should you take your anger out on a baby.

Causes and symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome

According to the National University Hospital, “Shaken Baby Syndrome refers to the type of traumatic brain injury inflicted on a baby when he or she is forcefully shaken. 

As a baby’s neck muscles are still not yet fully developed and provides little support for his/her relatively large, heavy head, violent shaking causes the baby’s head to rotate uncontrollably. This causes the fragile brain to bounce back and forth within the skull, resulting in the rupturing of blood vessels and nerves throughout the brain, and tearing of the brain tissue.” 

The end result is bruising and bleeding of the brain, with increased pressure within the skull which can lead to permanent brain damage, blindness, developmental delays, Cerebral Palsy, seizures and even death. 

Normal play with a child, such as bouncing him/her on your lap, will not cause such injuries. 

Other ways to deal with frustration

The Ministry of Social and Family Development recommends a few ways to deal with your frustration:

  • Relax, take a bath or shower, exercise or play music.

  • Take a break and call a trusted friend, relative, or neighbour to help look after the baby.

  • Sit down, close your eyes, and take 20 deep breaths.

  • Think about how much you love your baby.

  • Talk to someone and/or call one of the help lines, such as ComCare Call (1800 222 0000).

Alternatively, you can try one of these approaches

  • Ensure that the baby is not ill.

  • Feed, burp the baby and change his/her diaper.

  • Make sure that the baby is not feeling too hot or cold, or that the baby’s clothing is not too tight or causing and irritation to the baby.

  • Offer a pacifier to the baby.

  • Wrap the baby up snugly in a blanket.

  • Hold the baby against your chest and rub the baby’s back gently.

  • Sing, hum and talk to the baby, or walk and cuddle the baby.

If the baby is not in severe distress and you have checked that all their needs have been met, place the baby on his/her back in the crib and let the baby cry, but check on him/her every 5 to 10 minutes. Check with your baby’s doctor if you think your baby is crying too much

Seeking protection for your child?

Shaken Baby Syndrome is classified as child abuse and it is 100% preventable. If you seek protection on behalf of your child against a violent family member, or know of anyone who needs protection do speak to our Lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu. He has represented numerous clients over the years over a wide variety of matters, including Child Protection Services {CPS] matters heard in the Youth Court. 

Mr Amarjit has argued successfully for the aggrieved parent/s to have the child returned to them from CPS/ foster home. With vast experience in Singapore’s laws, including Personal Protection Orders, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

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