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:6/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing ... said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings ... users can now reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded ... Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada wear ... a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities use ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply is ... of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that have ... Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root Extract ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to Dr. ... Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to include ... in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of Glenn ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. ... his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in ... to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 According to a ... (Standard Pen Needles, Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, ... Hormone), Mode of Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & ... studies the market for the forecast period of 2016 ... 2.81 Billion by 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  MedSource announced today that ... e-clinical software solution of choice.  This latest decision ... value to their clients by offering a state-of-the-art ... relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform of ... full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been a preferred ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  In a startling report released today, National Safety ... lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. ... how states are tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. ... Kentucky , New Mexico , ... Of the 28 failing states, three – Michigan ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: