Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome, now most commonly referred to as Abusive Head Trauma, is a medico-legal diagnosis in babies and toddlers defined by a triad of symptoms: diffuse brain swelling, subdural hemorrhage, and retinal hemorrhages.

Although the diagnosis has played a part in the convictions of thousands of caretakers and parents since the early ’90s, it was not reviewed by an independent scientific agency until 2016.

The review found evidence for SBS/ABT to be “insufficient.” The report states that it would be “incompatible with both doctors’ professional duties and the regulations concerning legal certification” to definitely conclude that a child was shaken when the triad of symptoms are present. According to the report, there is no way to determine whether the triad of symptoms is caused by shaking or something different, such as an accidental fall.

Read the Statement of the Innocence Network on Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma here.

Relevant Cases: