Following the recent story on Frontline and NPR in the USA in which the medical diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome was reviewed and questioned, new research is lending credibility to the conclusion that children can die from shaking. But, not the way that we have been led to believe. Fortunately, the new research may well assist child protection investigators and assessors as it more clearly identifies how a child can die from shaking.
This should also be good news for those who seek to exonerate those they believe were convicted wrongly. This new research should assist in sorting out what are truly SBS cases versus those that might be the result of other causes (the Frontline / NPR program clearly shows there are many other possible explanations).
The new research is summed up on the NPR website "A team of researchers who conducted autopsies on 35 babies in Miami, Dallas and Calgary, Alberta, report that when children die after being violently shaken, they die of neck injuries and not from brain trauma." The research will need to be replicated for sure. In addition, the authors of the research note that the mechanism for this autopsy procedure is not easy. However, when there is so much at stake in these cases, the extra steps seem worthwhile as way to determine if a crime has been committed; should someone be charged; if child protection should be concerned about other children in the home - just to name the obvious.
If you wish to read the NPR report, it can be found at