Shaking a baby can be life-threatening as it causes a subdural hematoma (pooling of blood outside the brain), severe retinal hemorrhage, coma or even death, warn researchers.
Shaking a young child is accepted by physicians to be a dangerous form of abuse.In cases of child maltreatment, courts often rely on expert medical testimony to establish the most likely cause of a child's injuries.
‘Shaking a baby less than three years of age with or without impact more likely lead to subdural hematoma- pooling of blood outside the brain.’
"Claims of substantial controversy within the medical community about shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma have created a chilling effect on child protection hearings and criminal prosecutions," said Sandeep Narang from Northwestern University in the US.
"Our study is the first to provide the much needed empiric confirmation that multidisciplinary physicians throughout the country overwhelmingly accept the validity of these diagnoses, and refutes the recent contention that there is this emerging 'groundswell' of physician opinion against the diagnoses," said Narang.
According to a survey data, shaking a young child is capable of producing subdural hematoma, severe retinal hemorrhage, coma or death.
The study examined survey responses from 628 physicians frequently involved in an evaluation of injured children at 10 leading children's hospitals in the US.
About 88% of the respondents stated that shaken baby syndrome is a valid diagnosis, while 93% affirmed the diagnosis of abusive head trauma.
More than 80% of the physicians responded that shaking with or without impact was likely or highly likely to produce subdural hematoma. About 90% reported that it was likely to lead to severe retinal hemorrhage. And 78% reported that it was likely or highly likely to result in a coma or death.
High-velocity motor vehicle collision, was thought to result in these three clinical findings by a large majority of respondents. Very few physicians selected a short fall as an explanation for each clinical finding.
"Our data show that shaking a young child is generally accepted by physicians to be a dangerous form of abuse," said Narang.
The findings were published in the Journal of Pediatrics.