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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Child cried after vigorous shaking of head and behaving normal. Any brain damage?

Answered by
Dr. Santosh Kondekar


Practicing since :1997

Answered : 379 Questions

Posted on Thu, 20 Dec 2012 in Child Health
Question: Hi doctor! This is what happy to my 7.5 months old baby cause my concern today. She tried to climb on a table, her head was looking up while climbing. Suddenly she lost her step and her head slap forth and back very qickly ( just 1 time for and back), but she didn't fall. She started to cry, I held her close to me and clam her down, then she stop crying and back to play. This happened 2 hours ago. Se is sleeping now. Do you think did that hurt her neck or head? Will it cause shaken baby syndrome? Will it cause any brain damage? Thanks for answer my question!
Answered by Dr. Santosh Kondekar 53 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

Shaken baby syndrome is caused by vigorous shaking. And shakes due to fall from less than one feet or jerks from less than a feet are unlikely to cause it in normal children… but it may in cases of Down syndrome and some other conditions with profound hypotonia.

Brain is in floating state in brain fluid in the skull box. Vigorous stretching and shaking makes its shock absorbing properties to fail resulting XXXXXXX bleeds and unconsciousness…

If you have any doubts about her consciousness or vision… you should visit emergency room and get certified normal.

Hope this answers your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Santosh Kondekar 37 minutes later
She just waked up. She is acting normal. Playing, crawling, climbing, smiling....her vision is fine. Should I worry a bout any serious problem because of that. She didn't fall or hit her head. Thanks!
Answered by Dr. Santosh Kondekar 33 minutes later
Hi and thanks for updating,

All these are good signs …

Shaken baby is usually not diagnosed with single episode. Such situation is suspected by doctors only when there is suspicion of abuse or violence in family - children are usually low in weight are lethargic irritable and may be vomiting.

What you may suspect after such a described jerk is whiplash injury where spine gets jerks and has potential to cause paralysis too.

In your child's case none of the issues appear alarming… so I may suggest you to relax a bit but do keep a watch for next 2 months as symptoms may appear anytime in 2 months like say vomiting lethargy irritability and behaviour changes… though extremely rare.

Hope this information suffices. I will be available for further assistance if needed.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Santosh Kondekar 2 hours later
Hi! I think she is fine. But I will take her to our doctor tomorrow. As a active baby, she climb, jump and jerk all the time. I have talk to a doctor before he said if any brain injury will show symbols in 24-48 hours. As a first time mom, maybe I just worry too much. I just wonder if the situation like I described will cause any brain injury? Is it common when baby Learning how to walk and climb?
Answered by Dr. Santosh Kondekar 6 minutes later

The answer to your questions is no. Unless baby falls on sharp object or from the height more than two feet, such injuries are almost impossible.

Its good to be curious and worrying too. There are many issues in infants which may look minor but if neglected can be serious. In this case as baby is very active, I will rule out possibility of any problems unless the previous mentioned symptoms appear.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Mohammed Kappan

The User accepted the expert's answer

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