Shaken Baby Syndrome is a terrifying nightmare. The saddest fact about SBS is that it is child abuse and is 100 percent preventable.
According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, it is estimated that 25 percent of babies diagnosed with SBS die.
Many hospitals and doctors have tried to educate parents on the dangers of shaking a baby. NCSBS has made it their mission to help make parents and caretakers aware of what SBS is — and what it is not.
Some parents might worry that playing too roughly with a baby could cause SBS. But, according to NCSBS, this is simply not the case.
“SBS is a form of child abuse that happens when an infant or small child is violently shaken,” the NCSBS website reads. It goes on to state that activities such as tossing a baby in the air or even falling off the couch do not cause SBS.
The website also informs parents that shaking a baby within their first year of life is particularly harmful. Weak neck muscles and fragile brains are key factors at play.
One mom from Seattle, Washington, is speaking out about her experience with SBS in hopes to bring awareness to the dangers it poses.
Thirty-six-year-old Angie Setlak gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Xavier. He came four weeks early, but was healthy just the same.
At 3 months old, everything changed for Xavier in an instant. “I didn’t even make it through my first day back from maternity leave,” she wrote to Love What Matters.
Seltak shared how she had left the baby with his father after she returned to work. The man had a 10-year old and Seltak tried to have faith he would be fine alone with Xavier.
But things were not fine and after multiple text messages relaying his frustrations, Seltak received a message no parent ever wants to read.
“Xavier stopped breathing. Come home now,” the message said. What followed was a whirlwind of emotions, doctors and tests.
It was eventually confirmed that Xavier’s brain was bleeding. His father had shaken him in his anger and now the poor baby was in a medically induced coma and suffering seizures.
Even so, Seltak held out hope for her precious boy. “I heard everything from ‘he might be blind’ to ‘he may never be able to learn, walk, talk, move…’” she wrote. “But still I knew he would come back to me.”
Seventeen days later, Xavier was able to go home with his momma. His father was arrested and no longer lives with Seltak and her son. Seltak’s mother lives with her and helps her care for the baby now.
Xavier isn’t out of the woods yet and has to see multiple specialists, undergo therapy and is at risk for developing Cerebral Palsy.
But Seltak is thankful for the second chance Xavier has been given and hopes other parents and caretakers understand this: “No matter what, you never shake a baby. It’s so easily avoidable. A moment of rage changed my baby forever.”
If you’d like to follow Xavier’s journey, please visit his Give in Kind page where you can donate or read updates about this darling boy.
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