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  Shaken Baby Syndrome
Father holding baby

The Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) program was developed in response to Claire’s Law (Ohio Revised Code 3701.63) which was signed into Ohio law by Gov. Strickland Nov. 30, 2007. The program purpose is to develop educational materials regarding SBS and make them available on the ODH Web site in an easily downloadable format. The law says materials must be distributed to expectant and new parents via hospitals, physicians’ offices, child birth educators and Help Me Grow programs; and to all staff in licensed child care centers, type A homes and certified type B family child care homes.  The materials are available at Prevention.

SBS is a range of brain injuries that occurs when an infant or young child is violently shaken. SBS happens most often when an adult becomes frustrated with caring for a crying baby. When a baby or young child is shaken, the neck muscles are too weak to support the head and the brain moves within the skull resulting in bruising, swelling and bleeding from ruptured blood vessels. SBS causes damage that can lead to:

  • Blindness                    
  • Deafness
  • Epilepsy (seizures)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Mental retardation
  • Learning problems
  • Behavior problems
  • Poor coordination
  • Death

For the five year period 2005-2009, local CFR boards reviewed 160 deaths from child abuse and neglect.  The majority of these deaths reviewed were violent deaths, with 114 resulting from physical abuse, including 26 indicating the child had been shaken (pgs. 41-42 Ohio CFR Eleventh Annual Report.) 

SBS deaths and injuries can be prevented by helping adults understand normal crying, practice methods to soothe crying babies and learn how to safely relieve the stress of caring for young children.


Mailing Address:
Ohio Department of Health
Shaken Baby Syndrome Program
246 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Telephone: (614) 728-0773
Fax: (614) 564-2442

E-mail: sbs@odh.ohio.gov


Last Reviewed: 4/16/13