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Never shake a baby

shake; baby; brain; damage; shaking; ;

Shaking can cause serious brain damage, the injuries can last forever, and some children die.

All parents and caregivers feel stressed at times. But no matter how you feel, never do anything that could hurt or frighten a baby, and NEVER shake a baby. Shaking can cause serious brain damage, the injuries can last forever, and some children die.

Shaking a baby can lead to:

  • brain damage
  • unconsciousness, fits, epilepsy
  • blindness, cerebral palsy
  • speech or learning problems
  • damage to bones or organs such as liver heart, lungs, kidneys.

When your baby won't stop crying

You may feel frustrated and angry if a baby cries a lot and nothing you do seems to help. It may be hard to resist the urge to lash out.

If you feel angry – STOP – give yourself a chance to calm down.

Get away from the baby's cries for a short time.

You could:

  • leave the room – put baby safely in a cot on his or her back, go outside, walk, cry, talk out loud to yourself until you are calmer
  • hand baby to another responsible person while you take a short break
  • phone someone who will listen and understand
  • in South Australia phone the Parent Helpline 1300 364 100.
  • In Australia call your local Parent Helpline

Then you or another person needs to try settling baby again.  Have a look at the topic 'Crying baby' for ideas about how to do this.

If you need to leave your baby with someone, make sure that the person is responsible and knows what to do if your baby cries.

  • If your baby is crying a lot, it may not be a good time to leave your baby with other people who may find the crying too stressful. If you are feeling stressed, then anyone else who spends time with your child will also feel stressed by your baby's crying. In South Australia, make sure that they have the Parent Helpline number (1300 364 100). Anyone can call that number, not only parents
  • in Australia - they can call your local Parent Helpline - they are not only for parents.

More to read

Kids health New Zealand 

Pregnancy, birth and baby - Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is a national Australian Government service providing support and information for expecting parents and parents of children, from birth to 5 years of age.

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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