Navigation Links
In Shaken Baby Syndrome, Women as Likely to be Perpetrators as Men: Study
Date:3/7/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News)-- The tiny victims of shaken baby syndrome are equally likely to be injured by a man or a woman, although women are less likely to be convicted of the crime, according to a new study.

Perhaps because of men's sheer strength, the babies are also more likely to suffer graver harm if their abuser is male, and male perpetrators are more likely to confess to the crime and be convicted, the researchers found.

In data collected over 10 years on 34 cases of abusive head trauma (AHT) in infants, researchers found that abusers' gender was evenly split and that female abusers were typically significantly older than males.

Shaken baby syndrome is the leading cause of death in abusive head trauma cases, with an estimated 1,200 to 1,400 children injured or killed by shaking each year in the United States, according to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. Injuries sustained include brain hemorrhages, skull fractures and retinal hemorrhages, a cardinal symptom of being shaken.

In this study, biological parents were the most common perpetrators, followed by the mothers' boyfriends who were not the child's biological father. Prior research identified male caregivers as the more likely to cause abusive head injury to infants, but lead author Dr. Debra Esernio-Jenssen said she wasn't surprised that her study showed that half were women.

"I think there is a bias," said Esernio-Jenssen, medical director of the Child Protection Team at the University of Florida at Gainesville. "When a child comes in who's fussy and irritable and maybe vomiting, many pediatricians are not considering that this child could be an abusive head trauma [victim] if the child comes in with a woman."

"I think society accepts that a man may not be a good caregiver, especially with a young infant," added Esernio-Jenssen, also a board-certified child abuse pediatrician. "I think as a whole, society expects women to be nurturing caregivers."

For this reason, women may be more likely to deny abusing children when confronted, the study noted. The study authors added that although men were more likely to be seen as perpetrators of shaken baby syndrome, the percentage of female abusers may be underestimated. "When asked anonymously [about abuse]," they wrote, "mothers more readily admit to shaking infants or young children within the context of soothing or disciplining them."

The study is published in the March 7 online issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The average age of abused infants in the study was 9.4 months old, with 94 percent suffering brain hemorrhages and 82 percent from retinal hemorrhages. Two-thirds of the children were boys, and six of the 34 died from their injuries. (All the deaths were attributed to male perpetrators.)

While the perpetrators' ages ranged from 16 to 60, the median age of females was 34 -- significantly higher than the males' median age of 27. But 15 of 17 male perpetrators confessed, compared to only three of 17 women, and 82 percent of the men were convicted.

Because male abusers are typically stronger than females, their victims' injuries tended to be worse -- and tougher to pass off as resulting from a fall or other mishap, Esernio-Jenssen said.

"My study has small numbers, but of the three women who did confess, two of their three victimswere covered with marks," she said. "It's harder to deny if you're looking at a kid with marks all over them."

Esernio-Jenssen said she thinks future research should assess the height and weight of perpetrators compared to the children to determine how size influences the degree of injuries suffered.

Dr. Randell Alexander, chief of the Division of Child Protection and Forensic Pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville, said it's difficult to figure out why two-thirds of the shaken babies in the study were boys.

"It's a pretty strong finding in general, and not very well explained," said Alexander, who was not involved in the study. "And nobody's going to come up with a great explanation for that. There are a few people out there who say boys need to be tougher'... I don't think it's most parents, and it may not explain that finding."

Alexander said friends and family members who notice bruises on babies should be concerned about child abuse and vigilant about following up on their suspicions.

"Bruises are extremely uncommon in infants," he said. "Accidents happen at those ages, but not too much. And if parents are aggressive with a child, that's someone who needs immediate help."

Parents should also be mindful of their emotions, he said, especially if they have an infant who often cries and tests their patience.

Parents "sometimes have this notion they have to do 100 percent all themselves," Alexander said. "The most important thing is, put the baby in the crib or bassinet on their back, walk a safe distance away and wait for 10 minutes to calm down. The baby will still be crying, but they'll survive."

More information

For more on babies and head trauma, visit the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

SOURCES: Debra Esernio-Jenssen, M.D., medical director, Child Protection Team, University of Florida at Gainesville, board-certified child abuse pediatrician, Gainesville, Fla.; Randell Alexander, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics, chief, Division of Child Protection and Forensic Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine at Jacksonville; March 7, 2011, Pediatrics, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Shift workers at more risk for irritable bowel syndrome, U-M study says
2. Behavior therapy effective in reducing tics in children with Tourette syndrome, study finds
3. Company Invites Women to STOP PMS - Take the 10-Minute Challenge
4. LifestyleMom.com and the LifestyleMom Radio Cafe Aim to Help Women Create a Family Life and "Me Life" That They Truly Love
5. Women More Likely to Fail Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation
6. Diabetes drug ups risk for bone fractures in older women
7. Womens Heart Disease Awareness Still Lacking
8. Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga Put Spotlight on Women and HIV
9. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report: Study Finds Racial Gaps Continue in Heart Disease Awareness, Low Knowledge of Heart Attack Warning Signs Among Women
10. Womens Dermatologic Society Marks 35th Anniversary with Release of Unprecedented Book of Wisdom and Inspiration
11. Few Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer Take Tamoxifen
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
In Shaken Baby Syndrome, Women as Likely to be Perpetrators as Men: Study
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... In sleep, when the defenses of the day are ... of patients with eating disorders is significant self-criticism, and consequently these patients experience this ... regarded as maladaptive means for coping with this unease, but also leads to a ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 2016 , ... California Mobile Kitchens , a company ... latest mobile kitchen model, featuring customizable stainless steel interiors and a new, 26-foot ... use anywhere in the U.S. Many of their units can be seen at ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Calls Blacklist has just been updated by mobile app ... the developer has fixed known bugs within the app. Calls Blacklist allows its users ... not consuming any of their device’s battery power or memory. It provides a powerful ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... –This week, Atascadero water heater company First Call Plumbing has ... the report, click here or see below. , There are two ... cons, the type chosen is almost entirely up to personal preference. However, tankless water ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... one is tired of trying to cram belongings into spare space that just isn’t there, ... unit, but before hastily spending money on a unit, take these tips into consideration. , ... one is often not told when utilizing these services are some tips on how to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... SPRING, Md. , Feb. 4, 2016 In ... Califf , the FDA,s Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and ... action plan to reassess the agency,s approach to opioid medications. ... epidemic, while still providing patients in pain access to effective ... The FDA will: , Re-examine the risk-benefit paradigm ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Mass. , Feb. 4, 2016  Blueprint ... in discovering and developing highly selective investigational kinase ... announced the appointment to its board of directors ... executive with nearly 30 years of industry-related experience. ... Officer of Blueprint Medicines. "Lonnel,s strong strategic experience ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 SONIFI™ Health, ... solutions, today announced that MonteCedro, an innovative retirement ... Engagement System. The system provides a simple and ... access through a tablet PC. ... engagement system provides access to a wide spectrum ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: