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Shaken Baby Syndrome - Home Treatment

Help prevent shaken baby syndrome

  • Never shake a baby. Also, do not slap or hit a child of any age on the face or head. A child's brain is very delicate. Shaking, slapping, or hitting a child can cause serious harm, even though it may not leave any obvious sign of injury.
  • Learn about normal child development and behavior so that your expectations of your children are realistic. For example, learn some safe ways to calm a crying child. Many quality parenting courses are available that can help you learn how to effectively manage the demands and responsibilities of caring for children. All parents and caregivers need to know how to react effectively to difficult behavior without resorting to violence or corporal punishment. These classes are especially valuable if you have a history of being abused. Talk to your doctor or call your local hospital to find classes in your community.
  • Learn stress-relief and other healthy coping strategies. Taking care of yourself—by staying active, eating well, and getting rest—can help keep your stress level down. Many other strategies may also help depending on your background and interests. For example, you may find that self-help books, support groups, religious groups, or exercise classes such as yoga are helpful. Anger management classes or professional counseling may sometimes also help. For more information, see the topic Stress Management.
  • Screen your potential child care providers to learn about their child care skills and abilities.
    • Get a police background check on a prospective child care provider.
    • Choose a child care center that has a good reputation and that is licensed in your state.
    • Visit your child's caregiver without warning to get an idea of what kind of care is given when an observation is not expected.
  • Seek financial assistance and support for child care if needed. This is especially important for young or single mothers. Contact your doctor or local hospital for community groups that can help you.
  • Take a break when you are feeling overwhelmed. Ask a friend, relative, or neighbor if they would be willing to help. Also, find out if your community offers respite care services, which provide occasional care for a family member. Have a list ready with names and numbers that you can call. Try planning ahead, such as scheduling this care on a weekly basis.
  • Be an advocate for inexperienced and overwhelmed parents. Child abuse becomes less likely if parents or caregivers feel supported. Little things can help, such as offering to bring dinner for overtired parents when you see a need. On a larger scale, you may encourage community leaders to offer parenting classes. Also, support individuals or groups that help parents who are at risk of abusing their children.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 20, 2013
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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