Common defenses against shaken baby syndrome
A childcare provider may face accusations of causing shaken baby syndrome. Defendants in such cases rightly wonder about how common the condition is and the true potential for harm.
Recent studies have led to various individuals receiving a release from prison over doubts about the validity of such charges. Someone facing the allegation may have multiple defenses.
Symptoms of trauma to an infant do not necessarily display immediately
The moment a baby begins to show signs of head trauma, a person might assume that the cause is due to an incident immediately prior. For example, when a parent or guardian collects a child from daycare, the little one might display difficulty breathing, seizure or head injury. The parent may conclude the caregiver caused it.
Though head injuries can display within 24 hours, symptoms of internal harm can delay for weeks. It can be very challenging to isolate when internal damage occurs in any human.
Accidents can cause similar symptoms
Children are curious and playful. They do all kinds of dangerous things when left alone for a few moments.
During play or exploration, children could bump or bruise their heads. A court would have to rule out any other head impact to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an adult shaking the child is the cause of an injury.
Other illnesses can cause similar symptoms
Instances of doctors misdiagnosing an illness are not rare. Various conditions can present as another disease. Some sicknesses with consequences similar to shaken baby syndrome are:
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Benign extra-axial collections
- Collagen disorders
A medical team would have to establish beyond any doubt that one of many other conditions is not at play.
Recent information calls accusations of shaken baby syndrome into question. A defendant in such a case has options for fighting the charges.