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Abusive Head Trauma: A New Name for Shaken Baby Syndrome


Shaken baby syndrome is a term often used by doctors and the public to describe abusive head trauma inflicted on infants and young children. While shaking an infant can cause neurologic injury, blunt impact or a combination of shaking and blunt impact can also cause injury. In recognition of the need for broad medical terminology that includes all mechanisms of injury, the new AAP policy statement, “Abusive Head Trauma In Infants and Children,” recommends pediatricians embrace the term “abusive head trauma” to describe an inflicted injury to the head and its contents. Pediatricians should learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of abusive head trauma, including those caused by both shaking and blunt impact, and consult with pediatric subspecialists when necessary. 




The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit