Back in 2011, we interviewed Gretchen, a determined mom of two whose younger child, Symphony, was diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) at three months old in 2006. At the time, Gretchen wrote, "When I found out that my daughter had been a victim of child abuse, the feeling was surreal. I was in shock and I felt like I was in the middle of a nightmare. I wanted someone to wake me up.”
We caught up with Gretchen recently to see how Symphony is doing, and boy did she ever have news for us! Gretchen was pleased to tell us Symphony, who always wears a Lauren's Hope medical ID bracelet engraved with her multiple diagnoses, "...has been doing amazing. She had a shunt revision on March 29, 2012, yet still seemed to be able to perform the 'Crocodile Rock' in her spring dance recital that took place on Sunday, May 20, 2012. Not much time for recovery, but Symphony was determined to dance at her recital."
That's a pretty amazing recovery time for any child, let alone one with Shaken Baby Sydrome, epilepsy, and a VP shunt. Just two years ago, when we first interviewed Gretchen, she explained, "I was told by medical professionals that my daughter would never walk, talk, or eat on her own." At the time, Symphony was just starting to take a few steps with an assistive device. Today at age 7, Symphony is a true Super Star who is thriving and loves performing and hanging out with her 15-year-old brother, Tyler. And of course, Gretchen tells us, "Symphony loves her Lauren's Hope Medical ID Jewelry."
You Can Help Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is the result of injuries sustained when an infant or small child is shaken. According to the Naitonal Institute of Health, "When an infant or toddler is shaken, the brain bounces back and forth against the skull. This can cause bruising of the brain (cerebral contusion), swelling, pressure, and bleeding in the brain. The large veins along the outside of the brain may tear, leading to further bleeding, swelling, and increased pressure. This can easily cause permanent brain damage or death.
Shaking an infant or small child may cause other injuries, such as damage to the neck, spine, and eyes."
We can all do our part to help prevent SBS by raising awareness and offering respite care to parents and caregivers of infants and young children. The NIH offers these helpful guidelines to preventing SBS:
- NEVER shake a baby or child in play or in anger. Even gentle shaking can become violent shaking when you are angry.
- Do not hold your baby during an argument.
- If you find yourself becoming annoyed or angry with your baby, put him in the crib and leave the room. Try to calm down. Call someone for support.
- Call a friend or relative to come and stay with the child if you feel out of control.
- Contact a local crisis hotline or child abuse hotline for help and guidance.
- Seek the help of a counselor and attend parenting classes.
- Do not ignore the signs if you suspect child abuse in your home or in the home of someone you know.