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Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome describes babies/young children with a possible inflicted head or brain injury

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Shaken Baby Syndrome is the term often used to describe babies or young children with a possible inflicted head or brain injury. The result is a range of serious injuries to a baby or small child, which are often fatal. Although head injuries are the most common, there may also be injuries to other parts of the body.

For those in the medical, social care and judicial arenas, most important is the identification of non-accidental injuries in the child and the consequences in terms of treatment, investigation, identification of the abuser and safeguarding of the child and any siblings from further harm.

There are several initial indicators that a child may be suffering shaken baby syndrome, and those indicators include any of the following, alone or in any combination:

  • lethargy
  • apnoea (stopping breathing)
  • vomiting
  • poor feeding
  • increased or decreased muscle tone
  • irregular breathing
  • irritability
  • abnormal movements or seizures
  • drowsiness

When weighing up the likelihood of any non-accidental injury, and therefore the need to report the suspected abuse to social services, hospital staff will take the following into account:

  • any explanation given by the parents for the injury
  • inconsistencies between the explanation and the injuries

With reference to that explanation, when injuries are non-accidental it may be somewhat vague; there might also be a delay in seeking medical advice (although on occasion a delay may follow an accident where the parents had initially thought the infant was fine), but when injuries follow genuine accidents, the child is normally presented promptly – and there is a clear history of an accident.

Should medical staff have good reason to suspect that the child’s injuries are non-accidental, immediate referral will be made to Children’s Social Care, irrespective of the time or day.

The accusation of causing non-accidental injury is a serious one, and there are serious consequences.

Our specialist legal team here at Price Slater Gawne is highly experienced in Shaken Baby Syndrome claims. If you believe your baby or young child has been a victim of this, please call us today on 0161 615 5554, or email We are here to help you.

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  • Victoria Price


    Victoria Price

    t:03333 058375


  • Gemma Stanley

    Associate, Serious Injury Claims

    Gemma Stanley

    t:07534 847421


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    Paralegal, Serious Injury

    Alexandra Bastow

    t:07939 988918


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