Infants and small children are especially vulnerable to SBS because their neck muscles are still too weak to adequately support their disproportionately large heads, and their young brain tissue and blood vessels are extremely fragile.
Although SBS is occasionally seen in children up to four years of age, the vast majority of incidents occur in infants who are younger than one year; the average age of victims is between three and eight months.
Approximately 60 percent of shaken babies are male, and children of families who live at or below the poverty level are at an increased risk for SBS (and any other type of child abuse).
To diagnose SBS, physicians look for at least one of three classic conditions: bleeding at the back of one or both eyes (retinal hemorrhage), subdural hematoma, or cerebral edema.
Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a collective term for the internal head injuries a baby or young child sustains from being violently shaken.