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Cerebral Palsy Within the First 2 or 3 Years of Life

Some children develop cerebral palsy (CP) because they experience brain damage within the first 2 or 3 years of life. Risk factors for brain damage include:

  • Serious illness. Severe jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia), meningitis, or severe lead poisoning (very rare) all can interfere with brain development and lead to CP.
  • Serious brain injury. An accident or fall can injure the brain. This type of injury also can result from shaking, throwing, or slamming down a baby (shaken baby syndrome, also called intentional head injury or IHI).
  • Lack of oxygen to brain tissues. Insufficient oxygen delivery to the brain can cause CP, such as the result of a brain tumor or a near-drowning incident.
  • Low blood sugar. Some newborns with severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may develop CP.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last Revised September 30, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 30, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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