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Shaken Baby Deaths and Injury - Can a Nanny Cam Prove Guilt or Innocence?

Feb 10, 2008
Depending on which report you believe, there are from 1400 - 3000 cases of shaken baby syndrome diagnosed each year, however, it is believed that about 30% of these cases are initially missed. Also, there is no nationwide database to capture all reported cases.

What is shaken baby syndrome? It is a term used to describe injuries resulting from a particular form of abuse. The most common serious injuries sustained as a result of shaken baby syndrome are subdural and/or subarachnoid hematomas, as well as retinal hemorrhages. These injuries occur when an infant, usually under the age of two, is severely shaken back and forth. Infants two or under have not fully developed neck muscles so what occurs is a violent whiplash. The brain bounces back and forth inside the skull and actually turns. The bruising and tearing of veins on the brain cause the hematomas and bleeding in the brain. Sometimes these innocents receive broken ribs because of the way in which they were held during the act. Fractured skulls also occur when the infants head strikes an object during the shaking.

About 1 out of 4 infants die as a result of shaken baby syndrome. Those that survive will suffer a lifetime of some sort of retardation and/or other major impairments.

What are the symptoms of shaken baby syndrome? They can range from mild cases of vomiting, lethargy, poor appetite, and irritability to much more serious symptoms such as seizures, breathing difficulty or coma. Of course the most severe cases result in death. If a child displays any of these symptoms they should receive immediate medical attention. The frightening part of this is that even in the most serious cases a proper diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome is missed in many instances. If the child continues to display the above symptoms, parents or caregivers must insist on tests that will rule out shaken baby syndrome.

A huge percentage of caregivers and parents are not aware that shaking a baby can cause serious injury and even death.

This places the importance of an in depth interview with potential caregivers or nannies. Uncontrollable crying by a child due to colic appears to be the number one cause of shaken baby syndrome. Next is lack of toilet training, temper tantrums or refusing to eat. Although this is not infallible, nannies who have children of their own, may be more apt to take colic and dirty diapers in stride. Pointed questions regarding these situations need to be asked and reactions and answers should be seriously evaluated.

A shaken baby death case recently prosecuted in the county in which I live ended in a hung jury. The case will be retried but parties on both sides are adamant about who is or is not guilty. Naturally, the parents are outraged that the nanny was not convicted and the nanny, of course, proclaims her innocence.

Research into the so called "shaken baby syndrome" reveals massive conflict between "experts" in all aspects of this tragic and all too common occurrence. Experts cannot agree on the time frame of when the injury to the child occurred. Some experts claim injuries can occur in minutes while others believe it can take hours for the infants brain to swell. Because of this conflict, it can be very difficult to determine who was responsible for the injury. The injury could have occurred while the child was in the care of parents but discovered or manifested during the time when the child was being cared for by a nanny or other caregiver, placing suspicion on a possible innocent party. There is even disagreement on what is or is not shaken baby syndrome.

Can a nanny cam prove the guilt or innocence of an individual or individuals?

A nanny cam or hidden camera could be the deciding factor in the tragic event of a shaken baby case. It could provide evidence that the act occurred and by whom or show that it did not occur during a particular time frame. Thus, the focus of the investigation could be directed at other possible suspects.

If I employed a caregiver or nanny I would definitely have a hidden camera. And, if I was a nanny or caregiver I would welcome the presence of a hidden camera for my protection from false accusations. Whatever course one takes, the protection of your precious child must be the ultimate goal.
About the Author
Rosalie Kimberlin, the author, spent almost 30 years on a large metropolitan police department, and is now the owner of RK Enterprises. In a continuing effort to protect the "good guys" she now offers self defense and surveillance products through http://peppersprayetc.com
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