Thanks to the generous support of

Education is Prevention

Shaken Baby Syndrome
is 100% preventable.
A major step in prevention will be achieved if the public health message "Never Shake a Baby" can be made part of our culture, just like "Don't Drink and Drive". Many people don't know that shaking a baby or a toddler can be dangerous.

Our strategy of prevention
is two fold.
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Signs & Symptoms

Shaken Children Can Have Learning Disabilities

nsb_signs_symptomsWe know that even 25% of children who appear to have no bad effects from having been shaken can still experience learning disabilities when they start school.

This list of signs of a learning disability may signal the need for early intervention, before the child goes to school.
If you know a child with many of these signs, encourage the child to be evaluated for the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) or ChildFind.
Visit the Arizona Department of Education, Early Intervention Program

"Thank you for coming to my class. You taught me some stuff I didn't know, like Shaken Baby Syndrome. I did not know that most of the babies that are shaken can have brain and balance disorders." --Juan (6th Grade)

Signs of a learning disability

When a child has a learning disability, he or she:
  • May have trouble learning the alphabet, rhyming words, or connecting letters to their sounds
  • May make many mistakes when reading aloud, and repeat and pause often
  • May not understand what he or she reads
  • May have real trouble with spelling
  • May have very messy handwriting or hold a pencil awkwardly
  • May struggle to express ideas in writing
  • May learn language late and have a limited vocabulary
  • May have trouble remembering the sounds that letters make or hearing slight differences between words
  • May have trouble understanding jokes, comic strips and sarcasm
  • May have trouble following directions
  • May mispronounce words or use a wrong word that sounds similar
  • May have trouble organizing what he or she wants to say
  • Mat not be able to think of the word he or she needs for writing or in conversation
  • May not follow the social rules of conversation, such as taking turns
  • May stand too close to someone speaking trying to listen
  • May confuse math symbols and misread numbers
  • May not be able to retell a story in order (what happened first, second, next)
  • May not know where to begin a task or how to go on from there

If a child has unexpected problems learning to read, write, listen, speak, or do math, then teachers and parents may want to investigate more. The same is true if the child is struggling to do any one of these skills. The child may need to be evaluated to see if he or she has a learning disability.

Signs and Symptoms in a child who has been shaken, with and/or without impact

          Young children who have been shaken/hit may present with:

¤  Poor feeding, can’t nurse, failure to thrive

¤  Sleep changes: lethargy, listlessness, can’t be awakened 

¤  Irritability (high pitched cry)

¤  Vomiting without diarrhea or fever

¤  Convulsions, seizures or loss of consciousness

¤  Fractures of ribs and/or long bones

¤  Bruises

¨  They may show fear of their caregiver

¨  History from caregiver is inconsistent with symptoms


It is important to document all conditions in the infant prior to hospital discharge.  Shaking can mimic other conditions, such as viral infections, gastroenteritis, meningitis, hydrocephalus, seizure disorder, metabolic disturbance, congenital heart defects.


Potential Problems in child who has been shaken:

         Age 0-3 years:

¨  Inability to regulate state, arousal, and sleep

¨  Challenges in one or more sensory systems

¨  Mood instability leading to emotional lability

¨  Need for structure, support, supervision, and modulation by others

¨  Limited understanding of cause-effect, time relationships, and consequence-feedback experiences


           Age 3-6 years:

¨  Difficulty in regulating thinking, emotions, and behavior

    ¤  tantrums

¨  Early problems with executive function

    ¤  poor organizing, planning, and sequencing behaviors

¨  Limited emotional control

    ¤  immediate expression of feelings and limited inhibition

¨  Under-developed language and social skills

    ¤  may need services through special education


         Age 6-12 years:

¨  Reduced reading, spelling, and math skills

¨  Poor performance in school despite hard work

¨  Behavior problems during unstructured time

¨  Sleep disturbances

¨  Unexplained pain, headaches

¨  Faulty connections between feelings/emotions and rational thoughts


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Case No. CV09-01933 VBF(Ex)

individual, last known to be residing at XXX X. XXX XXX XXX., XXX XXXXXXX,

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