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Shaken Baby Syndrome

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Please join us for today’s topic - Shaken Baby Syndrome. Joining us is Mattie Pearson, RN, the nursing manager of Hurley Pediatrics and Hurley Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the only one in the region - Genesee County, MI.


0:00 Ilene Cantor

This Think Healthy, Think Hurley interview was brought to you by Hurley Medical Center, the region's premiere public teaching hospital in Flint, Michigan. This BlogTalkRadio is another way Hurley is educating the Genesee County Community and beyond about health and wellness. For more than a century, Hurley has been providing the most comprehensive clinical and compassionate care for patients and their families. I'm your host Ilene Cantor, and today's topic is Shaken Baby Syndrome. Joining us now is Maddy Pearson, a nurse and the nursing manager of Hurley Pediatrics and the Hurley Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the only one in Genesee County. Thank you for joining us Maddy.

0:36 Maddy Pearson

Thank you for having me.

0:38 Ilene Cantor

Tell a little bit, if you can, about Shaken baby syndrome, what it is and what people at home should know about this?

0:46 Maddy Pearson

Well, shaken baby syndrome is, where the baby has been violently shaken and the brain is moving in the opposite direction causing the shearing force that produces damage to the brain due to the baby's head. The neck is small, though it appeared as large, so you have this brain just going back and forth in a motion, and it has no support. So that causes injury to the brain. And it does not happen from like minor falls or accidents. The child is usually less than 1 year old. Majority of our cases are less than 6 months old. We have six reported cases that have been hospitalized in the last year, and the physicians believed the six that we had, there were two that were probably were not reported. In some cases, that are reported as since have been questioned as, was it a shaken baby syndrome.

1:58 Ilene Cantor

Now Maddy, what are some of the common signs and symptoms?

2:02 Maddy Pearson

A lot of the times when the babies are coming in, they are coming in lethargic. Meaning, very tired, not feeding well, possible seizure activities of the floppy baby, poor muscle tone, vomiting for no apparent reason, the baby has been perfectly fine and all of a sudden cannot keep the feet down, very irritable. So those are the signs that people should watch for.

2:29 Ilene Cantor

Tell me a little bit about the education that is offered internally at Hurley.

2:33 Maddy Pearson

Oh wow, we have a great education program. We have the Period of Purple Cry, which is every baby that is born here on our units, the moment they are discharged, they are educated on the Period of Purple Cry. They are also given a DVD, which is awesome. It explains what the Period of Purple Cry is, as far as the baby is crying and you don't know what to do. What are some of the things that you can do, the help, the resources that you have in your community. It also, they are given out to the physicians, where they are running at educating their clients as well as, we have a running education channel here at Hurley that is promoting purple cry and that is on continuously to make sure that the people are educated in such a serious senseless event that can happen to an infant.

3:36 Ilene Cantor

What should parents do that are getting frustrated and have a crying baby? What are some of those importances? Sometimes life-saving tips, Maddy that people should know when they are listening to this?

3:45 Maddy Pearson

Oh wow, just to know that crying is normal. It is not the fault of the parents or the provider. The crying will stop. I will love for parents to know that it is okay if you fed your baby, change your baby, you have cuddled, the normal soothing things like you have rocked. The normal soothing things that you've done is not working. It is okay if you are getting frustrated to lay your baby in a safe place. Sleep in an environment and step away getting your composure. We call it CHILL. Where C, you calm down, you take your deep breath. H, you use help. You use your sources to help you with this situation at hand. I, that your intelligent and you should know the injury than the consequences of a shaken baby. L, you take a little break, and the other L is for, land that baby down in a safe place and checking on the baby frequently. And also ensure that you step away from the situation.

4:54 Ilene Cantor

Maddy, what are some of those serious medical issues often time lifetime of disabilities, if not, in some cases, death that can happen from shaking a baby violently. Tell me some of the disabilities that can happen.

5:06 Maddy Pearson

Yeah. We have had approximately 25% of the shaken babies do die, unfortunately and some of the lifelong disabilities that they have are visual impairments. They become blind, the health of baby is developmentally delayed, they have the learning disabilities, unable to reach their age-appropriate milestones, seizure activities, there are all medications for life, unable to walk or talk, paralysis. So, these are some serious complications of the shaken baby.

5:43 Ilene Cantor

And final advice or tips that parents should know?

5:48 Maddy Pearson

Just really to reiterate that it is okay to just take a break. Sometimes, you just cannot fix why the baby is irritable at that time, and sometimes you can't help some of the life stresses that you are maybe going through. And just to know that is okay to lay the baby in that safe sleeping environment and close the door and step away. A baby has never died from crying, but they definitely die from shaken baby.

6:18 Ilene Cantor

Well thank you so much for your time. Maddy Pearson, nurse manager of Hurley Pediatrics and Hurley Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Thank you very much Maddy.

6:26 Maddy Pearson

Thanks a lot Ilene for this opportunity to educate our community.

6:31 Ilene Cantor

This Think Healthy, Think Hurley interview was brought to you by Hurley Medical Center. If you would like more information on finding a Hurley physician, call 888-611-4HMC.