Shaken baby syndrome: an abuse that can be fatal

The government launches a new one National Shake Baby Syndrome Awareness Campaign. That abuse momentous claims more than one victim a day.

A public health priority

The cases of shaken babies are not isolated cases. Hundreds of children fall victim to it every year. this abuse, intentionally committed by adults sometimes in denial of the seriousness of their crime, represents the most serious form of head injury in children.

In France, 1 in 10 babies who are victims of tremors die others will suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. The cause is the Shaken Baby Syndrome severe neurological consequences express themselves through intellectual, visual or motor impairments as well as behavioral, language or attention disorders.

To alarm and illuminate the reality of this phenomenon, The government is taking up the issue as part of a national awareness campaign. This initiative by Adrien Taquet, Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Minister for Solidarity and Health, supported by experts and parent witnesses, is particularly based on the broadcast of a shock film, which you can watch below, which reminds us that shaking a baby is abuse that can be deadly.

Watch the LSF version of this video

Shaking a baby is abuse that can be deadly

Also called “non-accidental head trauma” (TCNA), Shaken Baby Syndrome arises when a baby or toddler being shaken violently by an adult. These tremors, always extremely violent, are most commonly produced when the baby is grasped in the armpits or through the chest. His head is rocking back and forth quickly his brain hits the walls of his skull.

The baby can then stop breathing and damage the brain, eyes, and spinal cord can occur. Significant loss of neurons, this will affect the child throughout his lifecan also be caused.

key figures

  • Several hundred children are victims of this syndrome, according to Public Health France [1] ;
  • Mostly the victims between 2 and 4 months [2] ;
  • 1 in 10 victims deceased [3] ;
  • 3/4 have serious consequences long-term [4] ;
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome is characterized by high recidivism rate : Shaken babies were shaken an average of 10 times [5].

warning symptoms

Shaken Baby Syndrome is not usually an isolated form of abuse. Earlier symptoms suggestive of abuse are particularly common in diagnosed babies. To avoid repetition, it is possible to recognize certain signs:

Pay special attention to the behavior and manifestations of the child that can translate a form ofDiscomfort, malaise, malaise, embarrassment or mental distress in the presence of some adults.

worried about bruises, bruises or hematomas, on a non-walking baby who cannot hurt himself.

If abuse and shaking is suspected, it is important to talk about it And don’t face the situation alone.

The Effects of Shake Baby Syndrome

75% of babies survive shaking will experience very serious consequences because of brain damage:

  • A delay in psychomotor development or motor disabilities;
  • cognitive disorders and learning disabilities;
  • behavior problems;
  • Eating disorder;
  • Sleep disorders;
  • visual impairment or blindness;
  • hearing loss or deafness;
  • epileptic seizures.

In the event of difficulties with a child, adopt the right reflexes


Holding a baby is not easy. If you are a parent or someone who is responsible for a child and you are in a precarious situation or having difficulties, you should develop good reflexes.

If nobody is there to help you:

Holding a baby is not easy. If those responsible for the child have difficulties or feel vulnerable towards the child, they must:

  1. Secure baby in bed, put him on his back. There is no danger in leaving him alone in this position;
  2. Leave the room for a few minutes ;
  3. Breathe and focus onto something else to regain her composure;
  4. If possible, call a family member to talk about it or help them by taking over;
  5. Ask for help: share their fears and doubts with those around them and with professionals.

React immediately to immediate symptoms


After shaking, there are immediate symptoms that may be related to severe neurological damage:

  • unusual sleepiness, disorders of consciousness;
  • body stiffness or, on the contrary, loss of tone;
  • Abnormal movements or seizures (arms and legs stiffen or move uncontrollably);
  • difficulty breathing or breathing pauses;
  • decreased appetite, refusing to eat or vomiting for no apparent reason;
  • loss of smile or habitual chatter;
  • less good contact, extreme irritability, unusual crying;
  • eye diseases: the eyes have abnormal movements, the pupils are unequal in size, the child blinks or no longer follows the gaze.


What to do in an emergency

  • Call the emergency services on 15 or 112 (114 via SMS for the deaf or hard of hearing): Early diagnosis and care are essential to reduce neurological consequences.
  • As we wait for help to arrive, If the baby has cramps or vomits, place them on their side in a recovery position.
  • Make sure the baby doesn’t have a fever and treat it if it does.
  • Check if he does not need to drink or eat, change clothes, more covered or, on the contrary, less covered.

There are two toll-free numbers for contacting early childhood professionals:

- An emergency number : line “Hello Childhood in Peril” the National Telephone Receiving Service for Children at Risk (SNATED), whose mission is to provide help and advice to callers confronted with the situation of a vulnerable or vulnerable child.

  • Can be contacted at 119 available 24/7

- A help and listening number: the “Allo Parents Bébé” line of the Enfance et Partage association, whose mission is to listen to, support and accompany concerned parents from pregnancy to the child’s third year.

  • Can be contacted at 0 800 00 34 56, from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m

The communication campaign

Draw attention to the reality of this abuse and its consequences and present preventive solutions Shake Baby Syndrome, the Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Minister for Solidarity and Health worked closely with dedicated stakeholders, including recognized experts and parent witnesses.

Distributed digitally as part of a media buying campaign on major video platforms (YouTube, MY TF1, francetvpluzz, 6play), social media platforms (Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch) and a variety of publisher sites from January 17, 2022, this one reports Shock film official that shaking trauma syndrome can be fatal in 1 in 10 cases.

Its distribution will be accompanied by a communication kit (poster, leaflet, etc.) to help professionals and healthcare organizations raise awareness of Shaken Baby Syndrome among their patients or the public who receive them.

This campaign is part of the ‘first 1000 days’ of the child, intended for expectant and young parents, and is accompanied by a series of field missions.

Download the First 1000 Days app

Field reports and expertise

  • Aude Lafitte, grieving momwitnessed and engaged;
  • 3 questions for Dr. Anne Laurent-Vannier, former director of the children’s rehabilitation center in the hospitals of Saint-Maurice (Val-de-Marne).

[1] As it is impossible to fully identify the cases, additional information is available in the publication of the Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin (BEH), Public Health France, 2019

[2] High Health Authority (HAS), 2017

[3] A figure confirmed by the experts mobilized as part of the campaign, based among other things on the publication of the BEH, Santé Publique France, 2019

[4] BEH, Public Health France, 2019

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