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Shaken Babies Often Suffer Lifelong Consequences

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OXFORD JUNCTION, Iowa-- An upset baby who cries and cries can be frustrating for parents or caregivers. For some, it leads them to their breaking point. Crying is the number one trigger of shaken baby syndrome.

Each year around 13-hundred children suffer severe head trauma as a result of being shaken too hard, 1 in 4 die. While the majority of children injured from being shaken are under 1 year old, It's not uncommon for a child between 12 and 24 months to be diagnosed. A small number of cases, about 2-4 percent are in children over the age of two. No matter what the age the consequences of shaking a child too hard can last a lifetime.

Four Months ago Brandie Seaberg's life forever changed, when she got a phone call at work from her then fiance.

"He said the baby was breathing funny and it freaked him out, I called my mom to check on him she's a nurse and lives less than a mile away. She checked on him and called back and said I needed to come right away they were calling an ambulance," said Seaberg.

Doctors later told Brandie, her once happy healthy four month old baby Carter, suffered head trauma.

"That meant nothing to me I kept asking did he fall off the bed, did he hit his head on something, never did it cross my mind he did it. Three days later he admitted to [shaking him]," said Seaberg.

Carter spent two weeks in a coma at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Now home he suffers seizures daily and is blind, both are common in severe cases of shaken baby syndrome. While Brandie says she never saw any red flags, Dr. Resmiye Oral Director of the Child Protection Program at the University of Iowa says often times there is prior abuse.

"At least half the cases I see have older injures, older rib fractures in the skeleton, or older healing bruises," said Dr. Oral.

Dr. Oral says it's important for parents to recognize when they are reaching the end of their rope.

"That's the moment you have to leave your baby in a safe place, in the crib with nothing around and move away. Ask someone else to take over care of the baby," said Dr. Oral.

Brandie Seaberg hopes by raising awareness about shaken baby syndrome, no other child will suffer like hers. Like many who suffer from head trauma, Carter's future is uncertain. Doctors say he may never walk or talk, only time will tell.

"I try not to think about it I know it's all in Gods hands, what's meant to be will be," said Seaberg.

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